CHICAGO (WLS) — Melissa de la Garza was just 18 years old when she was gunned down while sitting inside her car Saturday night. She had just arrived at her Southwest Side home after a day spent with her mother.
“They went to buy Halloween costumes. They had a great day. She was just coming home and trying to get inside,” said the victim’s sister, Isabel de la Garza.
Melissa, who preferred to go by the name Azul, was shot seven times, according to her grandmother.
“It is a nightmare,” her grandmother, Clara de la Garza, said in Spanish. “Who is going to fill this hole? It’s unbelievable how this city is being consumed by violence.”
Relatives said officers were alerted by a nearby shot spotter and arrived on the scene just moments after Azul’s father ran out of the house when he heard the gunshots himself.
“He saw my sister sitting in the car. He was screaming her name and she wasn’t responding. My dad opened the door and just held her,” Isabel said.
“It’s hard to put into words the loss that we’re feeling, for someone to take away my 18-year-old warrior princess,” said the victim’s father, Jose de la Garza. “Just doing everything the best way we’ve taught her. And for someone to come and take that away for no reason, it doesn’t make any sense.”
She was one of four siblings and had just graduated from Solorio Academy, where she was one of the first young women to participate in the high school’s wrestling team. She was also an artist who loved to paint and was planning to take a year off to work, even after being admitted to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“She had so much ambition. She’s so artistic,” Isabel said. “I’ll remember her as my best friend; my rock. The person I always went to. She always gave me advice.”