Nearly 100 people said goodbye today to Michael Orozco, a 14-year-old Chicago boy who was killed earlier this week by an alleged gang member who prosecutors said was out to avenge his father's earlier slaying.
At St. Agnes of Bohemia Church, 2651 S. Central Park Ave., clergy, friends and family recalled how Michael's smile had endeared him to others.
But as the funeral service was conducted, reminders of Michael's violent death were nearby as Chicago Police officers waited protectively outside the Little Village church and lead the funeral hearse to the graveyard.
A priest spoke to the gathering about how violence and retribution was not the answer. Violence, he said, only begets more violence.
Michael was shot fatally shot on Sunday afternoon in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood after Javier Garza, 17, flashed gang signs at a group of teenagers before jumping out of a minivan and firing four shots, striking Michael three times in the back in the 2200 block of South Leavitt Street, prosecutors said.
A 13-year-old girl walking with Michael suffered a graze wound on her right leg.
A judge this week ordered Javier Garza held without bail on a first-degree murder charge, while a co-defendant Damien Garza, the alleged getaway driver, was given a $1 million bail.
The two suspects, both reputed Latin Saints, drove into Satan Disciple territory to kill a rival as payback for the death of Javier Garza’s father, prosecutors said.
A witness in the area of the shooting was able to take down the license plate of the minivan and called 911 with the information. Police officers spotted the green minivan speeding east on Cermak Road and gave chase before the van crashed. The two suspects were arrested within minutes of the shooting.
Officers found a loaded .45-caliber handgun behind the driver’s seat of the minivan, prosecutors said. At the shooting scene, investigators found four .45 caliber cartridge casings and five bullet fragments. The minivan and the suspects were identified by the witnesses at the scene, according to a police report.
Multiple witnesses identified Javier Garza, of the 2900 block of North 75th Court in Elmwood Park, as the gunman and Damien Garza, of the 4500 block of South Wood Street, as the driver of the green minivan, according to prosecutors.
A third person taken into custody was released without charges, police said.
Prosecutors said Damien Garza admitted to detectives that he and Javier Garza were driving around Satan Disciple territory and that he knew that Javier Garza was planning to shoot a rival gang member as payback for his father’s death. He also identified the gun recovered by police as the weapon used by Javier Garza in the slaying, prosecutors said.
The day of his killing, Michael had told his mother, Marisol Martinez, "I'll be back later," Martinez recalled this week. He went to meet up with a few friends around 3 p.m. near their West Side home. "I was going to order pizza (for him)" later, she said.
The freshman at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy was gunned down about 90 minutes later. He was shot in the chest and pronounced dead just before 5 p.m. at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Police said Michael was affiliated with a gang and that the three taken into custody were rival gang members. But his mother vehemently disputed that her son was in a gang.
According to his mother, Michael, the middle of three children, loved soccer, was meticulous about his appearance and liked to flirt with girls. An avid White Sox fan, he teased his older brother for liking the Cubs.