A march against gang violence and in honor of a recent 5-year-old victim is planned Saturday in Elgin.
The march is being organized by Elgin residents Elias Juarez and Oscar Sanchez, both in their 20s and former gang members. Juarez knows the family of Eric M. Galarza Jr., who was killed Oct. 7 in what police called a gang-related shooting as the car he was riding in pulled out the family's driveway.
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"I want to motivate people from Elgin in the community to step up ... and want to do something in the fight against gangs," Juarez said. He and Eric's father, Eric Galarza, grew up in the same neighborhood, he said.
Marchers will meet at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, 355 Dundee Ave., Sanchez said. The march begins at 1 p.m. It will head north on Dundee Avenue to Elma Avenue, and then east on Elma and end at Algonquin Drive, near the Galarzas' home.
Juarez said he obtained permission from the family to hold the 2-mile long march, and has been getting the message out through Facebook and by posting fliers in town. He's also contacted local churches for support, he said.
Families and children are welcome, he said. Marchers will walk only on sidewalks, not on the street, he added. Anyone with questions about the march can call Juarez at (224) 489-6998.
The investigation into Eric's killing is ongoing, police spokeswoman Sue Olafson said Thursday afternoon. Anyone with any information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Elgin Police anonymous tips line at (847) 695-4195 or leave an anonymous tip at cityofelgin.org/police.