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Funeral for Gustavo Garcia, 10, victim of drive-by: ‘Fly High Baby’

The casket of 10-year-old Gustavo Garcia, who was shot and killed last Friday, is carried out of the funeral service at Immaculate Conception Church on Tuesday. | Max Herman/For The Sun-Times

A small casket was placed in front of the altar of a South Side church Tuesday morning as dozens gathered to mourn the loss of 10-year-old Gustavo Garcia, who was shot in the back earlier this month.

The boy, known as Tavo, was memorialized on T-shirts worn by many of the people who filled the pews of Immaculate Conception Church at 88th and Exchange in the South Chicago neighborhood.

The shirts showed images of Gustavo hugging a white dog, or a smiling Gustavo under the brim of a Bulls hat. On the back of the shirts were the words: “Fly High Baby.”

Gustavo was shot late in the evening of July 14. The boy was in an SUV when a car pulled up next to them, and someone inside the car opened fire. A 31-year-old man in the SUV with Gustavo was shot in the back, face and chest, but survived. The man was taken Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was listed as stable, police said.

Family and friends of 10-year-old Gustavo Garcia, who was shot and killed last Friday, gather around the hearse following his funeral service at Immaculate Conception Church. Many wore memorial T-shirts with the words “Fly High Baby” on the back. | Max Herman/For The Sun-Times

The shooting happened at 11:13 p.m. in the 3500 block of East 97th Street in the East Side neighborhood on the Far South Side.

Relatives and other mourners who attended the funeral Tuesday declined to comment.

Community activist Andrew Holmes, who didn’t know Gustavo but was in touch with his family, said the boy was approaching his birthday next month, loved playing video games, loved his classmates and looked forward to going back to Arnold Mireles Academy.

Holmes said that following the shooting, the boy’s mother was crying so hard, her eyes had swollen shut.

A police spokeswoman said Tuesday that no suspects were in custody. Police could not offer any information on a possible motive for the shooting.

A bouquet of flowers for 10-year-old Gustavo Garcia sits on top of the hearse outside Immaculate Conception Church on Tuesday. | Max Herman/For The Sun-Times