Teen fatally shot in apparent fight over bike
October 23, 2007 (WLS) -- Family and friends are mourning the death of 14-year-old Sammy Benavente. The teenager was apparently shot to death during a confrontation over a bicycle.
Benavente is survived by nine brothers and one sister. The Chicago teenager was reportedly killed while helping a friend fight off attackers. The fatal shooting took place Sunday night near the intersection of 63rd and Central Park on the city's Southwest Side.
What has so outraged neighborhood residents is this shooting happened a block and a half from the Eighth District Chicago Police station. The shooter apparently had little or no regard for that bit of geography. Also, contrary to earlier reports, family members say the brain-dead victim died Tuesday afternoon when he was disconnected from life support.
Ninety minutes after saying goodbye to their son at Mt. Sinai Hospital, the parents visited the small memorial at 63rd and Central Park Avenue.
Police say 14-year-old Sam Benavente was shot twice in the head Sunday evening by an older teenager who allegedly tried to steal a third, younger boy's bicycle.
"He loved his mom, his family. He was very sweet. He had like a hundred friends around here. He never bothered no one. He was innocent. I don't know how anyone could be so cruel to do this to my son. We just want justice. Whoever did it, we just want to get him locked up," said Rozann Benavente, victim's mother.
Police say that after Sam fought off the thief, the older teenager left and returned with a handgun 10 minutes later, despite the police station two blocks away.
"They still haven't come out with any results," said Veronica Benavente, victim's sister.
Sam Benevente was big for his age. He attended eighth grade at the nearby Eberhard School.
"He was well known by the students. Had a lot of friends. The faculty, the staff members -- I mean, from the lunch ladies to the teachers aides, to all of his friends and classmates, everybody is just grieving, such a senseless and tragic event," said Nneka Gunn, principal.
The parents, from South Chicago, sent their son to live with his grandmother on 65th Place believing the Chicago Lawn neighborhood was safer.
"He was a very hot-headed kid. He would get very angry. He was very kindhearted. He was like a workaholic," said Mercedes Benavente, victim's grandmother.
Fearing an outbreak of gang-related violence, Eighth District police made a show of force by holding their lineup outside near the crime scene. And a city crew power-washed graffiti from nearby garages.
But as one young friend of the victim told ABC7, this neighborhood remains stained with fear and a new level of tension.
"I can't walk through here knowing somebody like that will come through with a gun trying to take my life away," said Sergio Rodriguez.
It took the killer only 10 minutes to retrieve a handgun and get back to commit the murder. Police are focusing their investigation on this Chicago neighborhood. So far, no suspects are in custody.
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