Hundreds pay respects to Serabi Medina, 9-year-old slain in Portage Park

‘What a horrible way to start a school year,’ said math teacher Susan Casey, who taught the girl last year. Serabi, who prosecutors say was deliberately shot, was remembered as a funny and outgoing child.

SHARE Hundreds pay respects to Serabi Medina, 9-year-old slain in Portage Park
mourners Rago Brothers Funeral Home Serabi Medina “Bibi” wake visitation Chicago

Mourners outside Rago Brothers Funeral Home attend the visitation for Serabi “Bibi” Medina on Thursday. The 9-year-old was shot and killed outside her Portage Park home Aug. 5.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Hundreds of mourners paid their respects to Serabi Medina on Thursday afternoon.

The 9-year-old girl was described as funny, outgoing and kind — someone who they agreed should be enjoying the last days of summer instead of being memorialized.

“She was my ray of sunshine, she was always so happy,” said Susan Casey, a math teacher at Reinberg Elementary who taught Serabi after school last year. Casey attended the wake with Mary Rose, a music teacher who also taught Serabi. Both women wore purple T-shirts in honor of “Bibi,” Serabi’s nickname.

memorial Serabi Medina balloons stuffed animals candles notes Portage Park Chicago

A memorial of flowers, stuffed animals and balloons was set up by well-wishers outside the Medina family home Aug. 9.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Prosecutors said Serabi, who would have started fourth grade next week, was shot in the head Aug. 5 while outside eating ice cream with her father in the 3500 block of North Long Avenue in Portage Park.

A neighbor, Michael Goodman, 43, is facing a first-degree murder charge and is being held without bail in Serabi’s death. Details on a possible motive for the attack have not been released, but neighbors on the block told the Sun-Times that Goodman had complained in the past of kids being too loud.

memorial Serabi Medina Bart Chari Chicago

Neighbor Bart Chari looks over a memorial for Serabi Medina on Aug. 9.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

On Thursday, hundreds of people — many wearing Serabi’s favorite color, purple — paid their respects at Rago Brothers Funeral Home, 7551 West Irving Park Road. Along with family, friends and neighbors, Ald. Nick Sposato (38th) and Jessie Fuentes (26th) were seen going in. So many people showed up that the funeral home’s parking lot was filled within minutes, and mourners had to park blocks away.

Rose Hogue, a relative who said Serabi considered her an aunt, said the girl’s death was especially painful because it wasn’t the first time the Medina family had experienced gun violence.

Serabi’s mother was shot to deathin 2018. Miranda Blanca was in the 5100 block of West Thomas Street in Austin when she was also shot in her head. Police say no one has been arrested in Miranda’s slaying.

“When I heard about it, I said, ‘Here we go again.’ It’s like deja vu,” Hogue said. “She died the same way as her mother, it’s very sad.”

Hogue, who wore a purple shirt printed with Serabi’s picture and the nickname “Bibi,” also said Serabi was “a good kid who loved to laugh and had an old soul. She was a people person.”

Stacey Moebius Diaz, a neighbor from Portage Park whose kids played with Serabi, described her as “real nice to everyone and really funny.” Moebius Diaz said she felt it was important for her to show up Thursday because she lost her brother, 13-year-old Isaac Jordan, to an accidental shooting two years ago and remembers how her Portage Park neighbors came together.

“I wanted to show support to the family because it meant a lot to me when my brother was killed,” Moebius Diaz said.

Casey, who is beginning her 28th year as a teacher at Reinberg, said she experienced the death of one student over the years to gun violence and another who was shot, but “never a baby like this,” referring to Serabi’s young age. “What a horrible way to start a school year.”

The Latest
Her illness was publicly revealed in a lawsuit filed in 2015 against her former business managers, in which she alleged they mismanaged her money and allowed her health insurance to lapse. She later shared intimate details of her treatment following a single mastectomy.
The unidentified 33-year-old man was in the 3800 block of South Wells Street at the Wentworth Gardens residential complex when someone shot him, police said.
Chicago police say the person was seen running with a handgun and attempted to throw it away but was “unsuccessful.” When the person picked the handgun up again officers opened fire, striking them multiple times, according to police.
Cuypers is enrolled in the UEFA Certificate in Football Management class.
The Hall is getting ready to welcome its second class of inductees next month at the Circa sportsbook in Las Vegas.