Bernardo Gomez, killed in attack at West Side CTA station, had plans of becoming a police officer
Gomez was a few days shy of 27 when a 14-year-old attacked him at the Cicero Green Line station, authorities said. His family described him as fiercely protective, fighting for custody of his son and planning on becoming a police officer.
Bernardo Gomez was just days away from celebrating his 27th birthday when he was attacked by a teenager on a West Side CTA Green Line platform and died of his wounds earlier this week, authorities said.
“We just want to share his story so we can raise awareness, and so this doesn’t keep happening to people’s sons and brothers,” Gomez’s younger sister, Carla Torres, said Saturday, recalling a protective older brother and doting young father who aspired to a career in law enforcement.
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Gomez was using a cane for an injured leg when the attack happened about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Cicero station on Lake Street, his family said.
Investigators told Gomez’s relatives that a 14-year-old boy kicked Gomez’s cane and started attacking him out of nowhere as he listened to music while waiting for the train.
The teen allegedly kicked him in the head. Gomez was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day.
There were people around at the time of the attack, but no one intervened, family members said.
Had he not been the victim, Gomez would have stepped in, according to his mother, Araceli Ocampo.
“He would have done something,” Ocampo said.
The 14-year-old was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder. Gomez’s family said they’re seeking the highest possible punishment for the teenager and anyone else who might have been involved.
Police said they weren’t seeking any other suspects.
Ocampo called her son noble and funny. Originally from Waukegan, she had urged him to come back home to the suburb — but he stayed in the city to be closer to his 1-year-old son as he tried to get custody of the child, according to Gomez’s family.
“He really tried to be the best dad he could,” Torres said. “He wasn’t afraid to change a diaper.”
His son is currently in foster care, according to Ocampo, who is now seeking custody.
Gomez graduated from Waukegan’s Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in 2014 and was working in a factory, but he had plans to go to school and become a police officer, a dream driven by Chicago’s persistent crime problems, his family said.
“He would get mad about seeing everybody getting robbed and all these crimes being committed, so he wanted to play a part in ending that,” Ocampo said.
Being protective was second nature to Gomez, who fought fiercely for his three sisters in typical older-brother fashion, Torres said.
“If anybody even thought about hurting us he would get on it immediately,” she said. “He always wanted to teach me how to be strong too.”
But he also taught his sisters to be forgiving, as his faith was central in his life.
“If anybody did any damage he would be like, ‘You got to find it in your heart to forgive because it’s what God wanted,’” Torres said.
Torres has set up a GoFundMe to help with Gomez’s funeral costs.