Chrys Carvajal and his siblings always would joke that he was their mother’s favorite child when they were kids. As they grew older, his oldest sister realized it was his obedience and drive that his mother admired.
“Chrys was always there. He was always a mommy’s boy, helping out mom, making sure she was OK,” Carvajal’s sister, Jennifer Ramirez, said Sunday.
Ramirez, 25, is the oldest of her four siblings, but even she looked to Carvajal as a role model. “We all admired him for his courage and his strength,” she said.
Carvajal, 19, joined the National Guard last year after graduating from Chicago Academy. He aspired to become a Chicago police officer when he turned 21.
But just one week shy of his 20th birthday, Carvajal was fatally shot in Belmont Cragin on the Northwest Side.
Carvajal, of Portage Park, had attended a house party Friday night with his girlfriend and at one point went to get something from his car, Ramirez said.
Carvajal was found early Saturday lying unresponsive on the sidewalk in the 2200 block of North Lockwood Avenue with gunshot wounds to the back and abdomen, police said. He was transported to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
“We are all very upset and we’re heartbroken,” Ramirez said. “My mom, she’s really devastated, too. She’s been crying. She has a sore throat because of all the crying, she’s just heartbroken.”
Ramirez and her family are still struggling to process the news. Carvajal was a 19-year-old full of life and ambition. He returned to Chicago in late May from Riverside, where he spent the last year, and had been living with Ramirez.
Carvajal was his mother’s assistant and right-hand man, Ramirez said.
“He always was really strong, and he was always like the head of the family,” she said. “He helped my mom a lot with like making sure that everything that the house was set... and the bills were good.”
Carvajal planned to become a police officer because he wanted to serve his community — a passion his mother instilled in him at a young age.
“He knew he was capable of doing, and he just had it in him. He’s a very brave person,” Ramirez said. “My mom has always taught us to do the right things in life and help others, look at others with love and not envy people... He just had a positive mindset, loving heart.
“He wanted to shoot for the stars.”
Relatives from all over the country are flocking to Chicago to support Carvajal’s family. Ramirez said her 100-year-old great grandfather is trying to fly in from Honduras.
About 30 to 40 people attended a rosary for Carvajal in his mother’s home Sunday evening. Several other people lit candles at a growing memorial Saturday at the site where Carvajal was shot.
Ramirez said it’s hard to imagine life without her brother, whom she’ll remember as a man with a “big loving heart” who was always willing to help others. She pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.
“We just want people to help. If they saw something, if they know something to help, because if it was their family member, and we saw something, and my family saw something or witnessed something, we would speak up,” she said. “That’s the right thing to do.”