Bail denied for 16-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting art student in parked car on Southwest Side

Azul De La Garza, 18, had recently graduated from Solorio Academy and had a scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the fall.

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Azul De La Garza

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Why a 16-year-old boy would allegedly gun down a promising art student in a parked car on the Southwest Side wasn’t made any clearer at his bond hearing Tuesday.

Victor Caballero had no known connection to 18-year-old Azul De La Garza and neither did anyone else with him on Sept. 25 when he repeatedly shot De La Garza outside the family home in the 5400 block of South Avers Avenue, Cook County prosecutors said.

De La Garza had recently graduated from Solorio Academy and had a scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the fall, the family told the Chicago Sun-Times. De la Garza had been shopping earlier in the day and had bought a Halloween costume.

Just before the shooting, Caballero was captured on surveillance cameras and seen by witnesses walking up and down the block with a group of people, prosecutors said.

When De La Garza parked, Caballero was seen separating from the group and approaching De La Garza’s car while wearing a distinctive black sleeveless shirt, prosecutors said.

Caballero fired at least eight times into the car before running away with the others through an alley, prosecutors said. Eventually, Caballero walked away while the others got onto a CTA bus.

Chicago police last month released video of three suspects tied to the deadly shooting and asked for the public’s help in identifying them.

Caballero, who was arrested Monday after being identified by witnesses, according to prosecutors, who gave no motive for the shooting. He has been charged as an adult in De La Garza’s murder.

During Tuesday’s live-streamed bond court hearing, Caballero rocked back and forth in a chair and spoke softly when Judge Barbara Dawkins told him to let her know if there was anything that he didn’t understand.

Caballero has had no previous juvenile convictions, and prosecutors did not indicate there was any physical evidence linking him to De La Garza’s murder, an assistant public defender pointed out to Dawkins.

Caballero is expected back in court Dec. 10.

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