Suspects sought in murder of Chicago art student returning from Halloween shopping

Chicago police are asking for the public's help in identifying three suspects in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old art student who was returning home from Halloween shopping this September in the West Elsdon neighborhood.

Melissa "Azul" De La Garza pulled up in a car around 8:27 p.m. on Sept. 25 outside her family's home in the 5400 block of South Avers Street when she was shot dead.

On Tuesday, her family asked for help identifying the killers. 

"I would like to say whatever families these kids belong to, do the right thing and turn them in," said her father, Jose De La Garza. "Let them face the charges that they are facing without any more heartbreak towards their own families. These guys live with somebody. They have a mom and a dad. Somebody takes care of these kids."

De La Garza said he has no idea why anyone would want to hurt his daughter.

"I really don't have any words for them except, 'Why?' Why would you take Azul? Such a beautiful soul," her father said. "It's been a nonstop nightmare. Just really awkward. Just really hard to learn how to move on without Melissa. Hard to eat. Hard to sleep. Hard to wake up. Hard to work. Hard to do anything."


Her family struggled to speak about the senseless death of their loved one, who had a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute in Chicago

"I keep getting asked in interviews, ‘Is there something you would say to her?’ I have no words for that except that I love her so much," said her sister, Isabel De La Garza.

Her sister  said she'd spoken with Melissa just 30 minutes before she was killed.

"The last time I heard from my sister was through a Facetime call. It was a normal day. She was so happy. She had just bought a Halloween costume. She was in her car trying to go home. She seemed so happy in that Facetime call," she said. "I don't understand this gun violence to innocent people.

Anyone with information is asked to call Area One detectives at (312) 747-8380 or submit an anonymous tip at