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updated: 10/9/2011 9:15 PM

Elgin Police following "good leads" in murder of 5-year-old

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  • The death of 5-year-old Eric Galarza Jr. is mourned by neighbors Jorge Linares, from right, his wife Eglaen Padilla, and their children Jorge, 7, and Natalia, 5. Eric and his kids were at each other's houses almost every day, Jorge Linares said.

       The death of 5-year-old Eric Galarza Jr. is mourned by neighbors Jorge Linares, from right, his wife Eglaen Padilla, and their children Jorge, 7, and Natalia, 5. Eric and his kids were at each other's houses almost every day, Jorge Linares said.
    Elena Ferrarin | Staff Photographer

  • Eric Galarza Jr., 5, was the victim of what Elgin police are calling an Oct. 7 gang shooting.

       Eric Galarza Jr., 5, was the victim of what Elgin police are calling an Oct. 7 gang shooting.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A memorial is set up for Eric Galarza Jr.,5, who was the victim of what Elgin police are calling a gang-related shooting.

       A memorial is set up for Eric Galarza Jr.,5, who was the victim of what Elgin police are calling a gang-related shooting.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Elgin Police say they are following up on multiple solid leads, but no one has been charged with the gang-related shooting of a 5-year-old boy Friday night.

Eric M. Galarza Jr. was shot in the head while in the back seat of his family's car, with his mother, and two siblings at about 7 p.m. Friday as his aunt pulled the vehicle out of their Elgin driveway.

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"We have everybody working on this case, all our detectives headed by out gang unit," said Elgin Police spokeswoman Sue Olafson.

Five or six shots were fired at the car on the 900 block of Elma Avenue, and once the bullets stopped, Denisse Galarza, 24, noticed her son was not responding.

He died a few hours later at Sherman Hospital, according to police.

Although police say they do not have a person of interest in the shooting, the case is progressing.

"We are moving forward with some good leads," Olafson said Sunday night.

Eric Galarza Sr. was in the front passenger seat when the shots were fired, and his wife told the Daily Herald that she believes he was "probably" the intended target. But she also added that 30-year-old Eric Galarza, a construction worker, hadn't gotten into trouble since his younger days.

"The circumstances surrounding the case lead us to believe it was gang related, and this particular vehicle was targeted," Olafson said.

There have been 15 gang-motivated shootings in Elgin so far this year, said Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda. That figure was 17 in the same time period last year, 14 in 2009, and 31 in 2008, he said.

Anyone with any information about the shooting is encourage to call the Elgin police anonymous crime line at (847) 695-4195 or leave an anonymous tip at cityofelgin.org/police.

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