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Adam Toledo remembered as kid with ‘big imagination’ and an affinity for shows about zombies

The teen loved Zombie flicks so much that he even had a bag packed and ready to go in case the zombie apocalypse arrived.

Ana Solano, 26, of Little Village, joins dozens Monday afternoon at a vigil for 13-year-old Adam Toledo near the location of the shooting at West 24th Street and South Sawyer Avenue in Little Village.
Ana Solano, 26, of Little Village, joins dozens Monday afternoon at a vigil for 13-year-old Adam Toledo near the location of the shooting at West 24th Street and South Sawyer Avenue in Little Village.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Adam Toledo’s mother did not attend a vigil for her 13-year-old son Monday evening because she didn’t feel up to it, but she sent a statement that was read to about 150 people holding white balloons.

“He had a big imagination and curiosity since he was a little baby. He was goofy and always cracking jokes, making everyone laugh. He loved animals and riding his bike,” Elizabeth Toledo said in the statement.

“Adam was really into zombies. And the zombie apocalypse. He even had this zombie apocalypse bag packed and ready to go. Some of his favorite movies and TV shows were “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “Ghostbusters,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Toy Story,” “Cars,” “The Walking Dead,” she said.

His palate favored Taco Bell, pizza, chicken wings, chips and candy, she said.

“May he rest in peace,” she said.

The statement was read by Jacqueline Herrera, who serves as violence prevention director of the Little Village based community organization Enlace Chicago. Hundreds of white balloons were released moments later.

Toledo was shot by a Chicago police officer at about 2 a.m. March 29 in an alley in the 2400 block of South Sawyer Avenue in what police described as an “armed confrontation.”

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) said of Toledo: “This young man had nobody. It’s sad to say. Nobody that could help him, except a gang. So, shame on us. I own that.”

Through a separate statement released Monday through an attorney, the Toledo family, in an apparent refutation of Cardenas’ comments, said they wanted to “correct the hurtful and false mischaracterization of Adam as a lonely child of the street who had no one to turn to.”

The statement continued: “This is simply not true. Adam was a loved and supported 13-year-old boy. He lived with his mother, his 90-year-old grandfather and two siblings. His father was in his life. They all loved him very much. The Toledo family is a close-knit family. They look after each other. Adam attended Gary Elementary School where he had the support of his teachers and his classmates. Adam was not alone.”

On Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot compared gang members who prey on the city’s youth to wolves.

“Like good shepherds, we have to better tend to our flocks to keep the wolves at bay,” she said.

Micaela Cruz, 35, attended the vigil Monday and said that gangs are a sad reality in Little Village that some kids can’t escape because they don’t know anything else.

“They need therapy, this to them is life,” said Cruz, who works as an Uber driver. “It’s messed up,” she said.

Matt DeMateo, pastor at New Life Community Church, organized the vigil along with Enlace Chicago.

“We cry out for justice for Adam, his life was taken too early,” DeMateo said.