SOUTH DEERING — Every night while he was alive, Bernardo Hernandez Jr. would walk across the street from his parents’ home where he lived and knock on the window of his brother’s home asking for a cigarette.
It was moments like these that Rudy Hernandez, Bernardo’s older brother, remembers best now.
“You never think about making a mental picture about those moments until something like this happens,” Rudy said.
"This" was the June 16 death of Bernardo Hernandez Jr. That day, his friend promised him $20 in gas money if he drove him down to the South Side home of a girl he was interested in, his brother said. During the trip, Hernandez’s friend got tipsy and started throwing up gang signs.
Police told the Tribune that two people later approached Hernandez's car on the 10700 block of South Hoxie Avenue in the South Deering neighborhood, threw a brick through a window and shot him in the head.
“They were actually aiming for the other guy, but that guy ducked and it hit my brother,” Rudy said.
Bernardo Hernandez Jr., 31, was brain dead until his death at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn the following afternoon, family and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
The youngest of three siblings, Bernardo was great with kids, his brother said. Every day when the two brothers and their father would come home from work, it was Bernardo who would get the first hugs from his nieces and nephews.
Bernando Hernandez Jr. attended ACORN Charter High School but never graduated. He worked a house fixture-manufacturing job alongside his dad, brother and friends.
“He was very quiet and he was a good person who liked to help other people,” his mother, Angela Hernandez, said in Spanish.
Bernardo also had his oddities as well, often choosing to make his own sandwich even when someone had cooked a lavishly created meal. Nonetheless, he loved his mother’s lasagna.
He was also kind. In January, he ran into a homeless man near his home and decided to give him a jacket that he retrieved from his house, according to his mother.