Our Pledge To You


Woman killed after trick-or-treating by ‘punk [with] no remorse for life’

Maira Coronel was killed in Hansen Park on Halloween while trick-or-treating with her family. | Carlos Ballesteros/Chicago Sun-Times

Hanson Park residents were on edge Thursday following the brazen slaying of a young woman in front of her family during a botched Halloween carjacking on the Northwest Side.

An unknown assailant shot and killed 21-year-old Maira Coronel as her twin sister Leticia and two young nieces looked on about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after the relatives had wrapped up an evening of trick-or-treating, authorities said.

They were sitting in Leticia Coronel’s parked car in the 2200 block of North Long Avenue when the killer jumped in the back seat, according to the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Leticia told reporters Thursday the attacker demanded the sisters hand over all of their cash. After they handed over $40, the assailant told the pair to give up their cellphones.

A photo of Maira Coronel provided by her family. Her twin sister Leticia described Coronel on Thursday as a “kind person.”

Maira refused, and the gunman shot her twice in the back of the head, Leticia said.

The shooter got out of the car and ran onto Belden Avenue near Blackhawk Park.

“She was a loving, young girl,” Leticia Coronel told reporters Thursday. “She was a kind person. She would never do anything to anybody.”

No arrests have been made. Police did not have any updates on the case late Thursday and have not released a description of the suspect.

The killing sparked fear in many Hanson Park residents who said the killer showed a callous disregard for life by shooting Coronel in front of her nieces, both toddlers.

Brenda Bahena, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years, said she was afraid to let her children play outside.

“It’s terrible what happened to that young girl. With all this violence, you don’t feel free on your own block,” she said in Spanish.

Bahena also said she fears the murder is tied to what she sees as an increase in gangs and violence near Hanson Park, which is surrounded by two elementary schools and Prosser Career Academy, a public high school.

Margarita Cuenca, who moved into a two-flat near the park six months ago, said she suffered an experience eerily similar to Coronel’s in another carjacking attempt about a month ago on the same block.

Cuenca said two men, one with a bat, walked up to her car around 3 a.m. as she was about to pick up her son from his late-night shift at a Wendy’s restaurant.

“I put the car in reverse and pulled out as fast as I could,” she said in Spanish. “I was really scared. I don’t know what they were going to do to me. I was in shock for a long time.”

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said he was “appalled” by Coronel’s murder and called on residents to cooperate with authorities.

“This punk showed no remorse for life and we need to catch him/her as soon as possible,” he said. “We need the community to put forward any tips or video footage they may have, no matter how irrelevant they may think it is.”

Silvia Estrada, a Hanson Park resident for nearly two decades, shared Villegas’ thirst for justice.

“I hope this doesn’t just end up unresolved. We need to find out what happened. The neighborhood deserves to know,” she said in Spanish.

A group of five Prosser Career Academy sophomores hanging out near the entrance to Hanson Park on Thursday all agreed Coronel’s murder was especially jarring even in a neighborhood that has seen its share of violent crime.

“It happens every day,” Shawn Martinez, 15, said. “I got so many dead family members, it’s insane.”