Reward offered for information about Belmont Cragin killing

Ramiro Mendez, a father of two young daughters, was gunned down in his driveway while walking his dog.

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Family members and supporters mourn the death of Ramiro Mendez during a news conference Tuesday to decry neighborhood violence near North Lockwood Avenue and West Altgeld Street, less than a week after 32-year-old Mendez was shot to death near that location in Belmont Cragin. Police and family said Mendez was shot to death shortly after 3 a.m. while he was standing outside, letting the dog out.

Family members and supporters mourn the death of Ramiro Mendez during a news conference Tuesday to decry neighborhood violence near North Lockwood Avenue and West Altgeld Street.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Family members and community activists gathered Tuesday in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood to make a plea for tips in the murder of 32-year-old Ramiro Mendez, a father of two girls.

Mendez was gunned down Saturday in front of his house in the 5300 block of West Altgeld Street in the early-morning hours, shortly after he and his wife returned home from a family gathering.

Maria Zambrano had gone into the house to let out the family dog while Mendez waited in the driveway, Zambrano said Tuesday after a news conference at the corner of North Lockwood and West Altgeld, a few doors down from the shooting scene.

Ramiro Mendez

Ramiro Mendez

Provided

“I heard gunshots, a lot of shots, then squealing tires,” recalled Zambrano, standing alongside her sister and Mendez’s parents. “When I came out, he was on the ground.”

Mendez lay near the backyard fence, said Zambrano, who said she believed the shooting was a botched robbery attempt.

“He didn’t have problems with anybody,” she said.

Community activists Raul Montes Jr. and Pat Gibbons pledged a combined $8,000 for tips that lead to an arrest and conviction of the killers.

“We’re tired of the violence,” Montes said. “(Mendez) was killed outside his own house. ... Criminals don’t care who you are or where you live.”

A black sedan pulled up in front of the house as Mendez was waiting in the driveway around 3 a.m., police said. An occupant of the vehicle opened fire, striking Mendez in the chest. Mendez was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Mendez had two daughters, ages 10 and 7, said Yarine Velez, who said Mendez was her adopted brother.

Mendez was born in Mexico and grew up in Bucktown before moving to Belmont Cragin, Velez said. He worked as a food deliveryman, but woke up every morning to take his daughters to school, Zambrano said.

“His daughters miss their daddy,” she said, stifling a sob. “The people all around all have cameras. ... I understand they’re afraid. People don’t want to talk. I am afraid, but I’m out here because I want justice for (Ramiro).”

Family members of Ramiro Mendez mourn as community activist and Chicago aldermanic candidate Esteban Burgoa decries neighborhood violence during a news conference Tuesday near North Lockwood Avenue and West Altgeld Street, less than a week after 32-year-old Mendez was shot to death near that location in Belmont Cragin. Police and family said Mendez was shot to death shortly after 3 a.m. Jan. 21 while he was standing outside, letting the dog out.

Family members of Ramiro Mendez mourn as community activist and Chicago aldermanic candidate Esteban Burgoa decries neighborhood violence Tuesday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Pat Gibbons (left) and Raul Montes listen as Yarine Velez speaks about her brother, Ramiro Mendez, during a news conference Tuesday to decry neighborhood violence near North Lockwood Avenue and West Altgeld Street, less than a week after 32-year-old Mendez was shot to death near that location in Belmont Cragin. Police and family said Mendez was shot to death shortly after 3 a.m. Jan. 21 while he was standing outside, letting the dog out.

Pat Gibbons (left) and Raul Montes listen Tuesday as Yarine Velez talks about her brother, Ramiro Mendez, who was shot to death Saturday in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Maria Zambrano, wife of Ramiro Mendez, hugs her mother-in-law during a news conference Tuesday to decry neighborhood violence near North Lockwood Avenue and West Altgeld Street, less than a week after 32-year-old Mendez was shot to death near that location in Belmont Cragin. Zambrano said her husband was shot to death shortly after 3 a.m. Jan. 21 while he was standing outside, letting the dog out.

Maria Zambrano, the wife of Ramiro Mendez, hugs her mother-in-law during a news conference Tuesday about the killing of Mendez.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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