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Lightfoot vows to find those responsible for ‘horrific’ Humboldt Park murder

“As you saw from the horrific video, it wasn’t just one person. There’s one person who dealt the fatal shot. But, there were others who were standing by who dragged that poor woman out of the car,” the mayor said Monday.

A memorial for Gyovanny Arzuaga, who was shot and killed in the 3200 block of West Division St. in Humboldt Park, is seen Sunday. Arzuaga was killed on Saturday while celebrating Puerto Rican Day, Sunday, June 20, 2021. Gyovanny was traveling with Yasmin Perez, who was critically wounded in the same shooting.
A memorial for Gyovanni Arzuaga, who was shot and killed in the 3200 block of West Division St. in Humboldt Park, is seen Sunday. Arzuaga was killed on Saturday while celebrating Puerto Rican Day, Sunday, June 20, 2021. Gyovanni was traveling with Yasmin Perez, who was critically wounded in the same shooting.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

An outraged Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday vowed to hunt down everyone involved in a “horrific” weekend shooting that left a man dead and a woman critically wounded in Humboldt Park.

Lightfoot said police have “promising leads” after tips from the community. They have identified a suspect who “did the shooting,” the mayor said. She hopes that suspect will be in custody “relatively soon.”

But that’s not the end of the investigation, Lightfoot said.

“As you saw from the horrific video, it wasn’t just one person. There’s one person who dealt the fatal shot. But there were others who were standing by who dragged that poor woman out of the car. The man who was killed literally used his body as a shield and paid for that with his life,” the mayor said.

The video the mayor referred to was graphic surveillance footage of the Saturday night shooting that had been circulated widely online over the weekend.

Killed was 24-year-old Gyovanni Arzuaga, who was pronounced dead at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. He was a passenger in a car driven by a 25-year-old woman who also was shot. She was struck in the neck and rushed to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, police said.

Their car was ambushed by three males about 9:15 p.m. Saturday in the 3200 block of West Division during the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

“The fact that happened in our city and so many individuals stood around and seemingly were trying to take advantage of this moment that, I believe, started with a car accident, is a horrific statement … about those men who were involved in that.”

Lightfoot then delivered an ominous warning to the men she accused of being complicit in the incident.

“You know who you are. People know who you are. You need to turn yourself in because we are gonna spare no resource whatsoever to find them and you and bring you to justice and make sure that these people who created such brazen chaos and harm are held in custody ’til they see their day in court,” the mayor said.

At a news conference later Monday, CPD Supt. David Brown was asked if the shooting casts a shadow over the city’s national image.

“One of the things you don’t need to do in this particular circumstance is sensationalize it any more than it is already sensationalized,” Brown said. “You see this tragedy happening real time on video posting the night of, practically the moment after, adding to the tragedy for all of the families of victims involved.”

Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan, who joined Brown at the news conference, confirmed that the incident occurred after a “minor traffic accident.”

He said several people beat the woman before shooting her. Arzuaga then went to her aid and was shot by a second person — “almost execution style,” Deenihan said.

For the umpteenth time, Lightfoot demanded that Chief Judge Tim Evans order the full resumption of criminal trials for the first time since the pandemic.

“The fact that our criminal courts have been relatively inactive and closed for trials since March of 2020 makes no sense. We have federal trials that are happening in Chicago. We have criminal trials that are happening in surrounding areas,” the mayor said.

“The Chicago Police Department is doing its part. It’s investigating. It’s being proactive. It’s arresting people and bringing them to justice. But then, the cases sit and sit and sit. And we have way too many people out on pre-trial release because the courts are effectively closed. … Every part of the criminal justice ecosystem — not just the Chicago Police Department — needs to step up and get back to pre-COVID times. Otherwise, our communities are not gonna be safe.”

Last week, Evans announced he had asked a committee of criminal justice stakeholders to determine how to safely accelerate the reopening of criminal courts to in-person proceedings, including increasing the capacity for bench and jury trials.

But Evans’ news release making that announcement also noted that, although in-person criminal proceedings have been “limited,” since the pandemic, the courts “never really closed” and the “administration of justice, including hearings, bench trials, guilty pleas, findings of innocence and dismissal of cases have continued” for the past 15 months.

Contributing: Jermaine Nolen, Tom Schuba, Madeline Kenney