Fed up with lack of progress, relatives of homicide victims in Chicago urge FBI to get involved

A group of people who have lost loved ones to homicides in Chicago protested Tuesday outside of the FBI’s Chicago office, urging the federal agency to get involved in the investigations.

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Activists and community members protest in front of the FBI office in Chicago, demanding that the FBI start investigating murder cases in Chicago, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

For the past six months, Angela Gregg has met with elected leaders, police officials and community members, but none of those conversations seem to have gotten her closer to solving the homicide of her young son, Mychal “MJ” Moultry Jr.

Frustrated by the lack of progress, Gregg and a group of parents who have also lost loved ones to homicides in Chicago protested Tuesday outside the FBI’s Chicago field office, urging the federal agency to step in and assist the Chicago Police Department in solving the cases.

Little Village community members and the relatives, holding enlarged photos of their loved ones along with crosses memorializing their deaths, wanted to meet Tuesday with the FBI, but officials never emerged from the building located at 2111 W. Roosevelt Road. The group said they were inviting FBI officials to meet with them April 13 in Little Village, as they marched along Roosevelt Road holding signs stating, “FBI Help!”

“It shouldn’t take this much for us to get what’s owed to our sons, to our brothers, to our sisters, to our family members,” said Gregg, who is from Alabama but has stayed in Chicago to push for answers in her son’s homicide.

“And I just want you guys to always remember that MJ, he was innocent. He was here to have a good time with his father and just go to the water park and simply enjoy being a child, and children here, they do deserve the right to grow up.”

Her 4-year-old son, visiting his father in Chicago, was with him the night of Sept. 3, 2021, getting his hair braided in an apartment in the 6500 block of South Ellis Avenue when bullets flew through the window, striking the boy twice in the head, police previously said. He died two days later.

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Activists and community members protest in front of the FBI office in Chicago, demanding that the FBI start investigating murder cases in Chicago, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The Chicago Police Department said no one was in custody in the boy’s homicide along with a handful of other homicides that were mentioned at Tuesday’s protest. The police department said the investigations remain open by area detectives.

In an email, the FBI said it “works in constant coordination with state and local police departments when federal involvement in an investigation is warranted.”

Relatives of other homicide victims - Ramiro Morales, Jesus Brant Jr., Felipe De Jesus Duarte Trujillo and Fernando DeLeon - also spoke about their loved ones.

Don McGraw, whose nephew De’Andre Clark was fatally shot Sept. 22, 2019, said he wanted the FBI to create a task force to help solve Chicago homicides. McGraw said he believes there is video evidence of what happened to his nephew, but no one has been arrested in the case.

For Maria Soila Vega, it seems like everyone has watched the last minutes of her son’s life, and yet no one has been arrested in the homicide.

Activists and community members protest on March 22 in front of the FBI office in Chicago, demanding that the FBI start investigating murder cases in Chicago.

Activists and community members protest in front of the FBI office in Chicago, demanding that the FBI start investigating murder cases in Chicago, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Her son, Christopher Torrijos, 26, was celebrating Mexican Independence Day late Sept. 16, 2021, when a fight broke out in a shopping center parking lot in the 1300 block of South Canal Street. Someone opened fire, fatally shooting him in the head and hand, police previously said.

The fight was captured on video and shared widely on social media, Vega said. Yet she hasn’t heard from detectives in the case, she said.

“I’m here because I want justice,” Vega said in Spanish. “Justice for my son and everyone who is here.”

Catalina Andrade grew emotional as she talked about her son, Miguel Rios, who was fatally shot July 18, 2020, on his way to visit his girlfriend in Little Village.

“Sometimes I want to give up, but I’m not going to give up,” Andrade said. “Because I’m my son’s voice. We are all here for a reason, and our purpose is to be our children’s voices.”

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Activists and community members protest in front of the FBI office in Chicago, demanding that the FBI start investigating murder cases in Chicago, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

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