CHICAGO — One night during his sophomore year at CICS-Northtown Academy, Nicholas Camacho came home and asked his parents if a homeless could friend stay the night.
After they refused, Camacho went to his computer and printed out a photo of Jesus Christ knocking on a door asking for help.
His parents let the friend stay the night and have used that story and several others to describe their son’s big heart.
“He was everybody's best friend,” said his mother Magdalena Camacho. “He had such a big heart ever since he was a little kid. Truly people enjoyed to be with him. At school if he saw someone less fortunate he would give them lunch or let them stay with him.”
Nicholas Camacho, 19, was shot fatally early on Jan. 2 — Chicago’s first murder of 2012, authorities said. It was an apparent random shooting in an alley near the intersection of Lawrence and Kedzie avenues, authorities said.
Shortly before the shooting, the teen was at home in his room, according to his parents. Friends had stopped by the family's West Rogers Park home wanting to talk to him. His parents hadn’t realized that he went for a car ride with his friends while still wearing his coat, pajamas and glasses, instead of his usual contact lenses.
The car pulled into an alley east of Kedzie on Lawrence where one of the teen's friends planned to relieve himself in an alley, Magdalena Camacho said. While there, the group spotted men coming toward them with guns. They piled into the car and tried to drive off as the shooting began.
The younger of two sons, Nicholas Camacho was shot once in the head and pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Jesus Camacho, Nicholas’ father, said police believe members of the Latin Kings were behind the murder, though the motive was unclear.
Camacho’s parents said their son was not in a gang. He had no adult criminal record in Cook County.
Instead, he focused on his studies.
The teen had a collection of 30 rosaries and his parents at one time believed he would become a priest.
But ultimately, he was working toward a more creative career, his family said. At the time of his death, he was studying at Harold Washington Community College and looking to transfer to Columbia College Chicago to study filmmaking.
His parents said their son was artistic and a whiz with details. He played the piano as a child, and but also excelled in sports. He played baseball, basketball and track as a child. The weekend after he was shot, he was supposed to begin triathlon training with his older brother.
“He could look at something for two seconds and pick out all the details,” Jesus Camacho said. “He was like that with maps too. He knew exactly how to get from one point to another just like that.
“He was blessed and we were blessed as a family,” his father added. “He was a miracle baby. To have somebody murder our son just like that no reason at all, it destroys everything.”