Heart of Teen Slain in Drive-By Donated To Father of Three

By Quinn Ford on June 18, 2013 2:53pm 

 Alexander Lagunas (r.) with his three sisters and mother. Lagunas died Monday after he was shot in the city's South Lawndale neighborhood early Sunday morning.
Alexander Lagunas (r.) with his three sisters and mother. Lagunas died Monday after he was shot in the city's South Lawndale neighborhood early Sunday morning.
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Family

ASHBURN — Melissa Lagunas and her family were still struggling Tuesday morning to understand the circumstances that led to her little brother's death.

She said Alexander Lagunas, 18, left their Ashburn home Saturday and told their mother he would return that night.

Instead, she said police knocked on their door at 6 a.m. Sunday to tell the family that Lagunas had been shot and killed.

Lagunas was one of 10 killed people over a weekend that saw dozens more wounded in shootings.

About 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Lagunas was sitting with a woman inside a car near 31st Street and Pulaski Road when a gray Jeep pulled up next to the car and opened fire, police said.

Lagunas was shot multiple times and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital. The 22-year-old woman he was with was shot in the hip and also was taken to Mount Sinai.

Police said the woman's condition has stabilized, but Lagunas was pronounced dead at 10:08 a.m. Monday.

On Tuesday, Melissa Lagunas said her little brother's body was still hooked up to machines at the hospital because his organs were to be donated.

She said the hospital already had found a recipient for Lagunas' heart: a 30-something father of three.

Citing patient privacy, officials at Mount Sinai would not comment.

Lagunas said knowing her brother's death would save another's life was comforting.

"It wasn't just, he died and that's it," she said. "He's actually doing something."

Lagunas said her family still was reeling from news of her brother's death.

"My mom, she hasn't slept. She doesn't eat," Lagunas said. "My sisters, you know, I just told them to be strong for my mom."

Melissa Lagunas, 19, said she was very close with her brother when the two were young. She said they would watch after their two little sisters because their mom was a single parent and would work all day.

She described her brother as always being into girls and never being the quiet type.

"He was always really loud," Lagunas said. "He was never still. He always liked to go out."

Lagunas dropped out of high school after his freshman year. He fell in with the wrong crowd and began struggling with drugs. Last year, he entered rehab and completed the program a couple of months ago, his sister said.

She said her family did not know why Lagunas was in South Lawndale or why someone would have shot him.

She said her brother might have hung out with a tough crowd but he was never a bad person. He was not violent or "cold-hearted," she said.

"He's my little brother, and it's hard right now, but we all know that he's in a better place, and he's not worrying about what could happen to him. He's not scared anymore," she said.

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