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Family Tried to Turn Slain Man Away From Bad Crowd

By DNAinfo Staff on January 13, 2013 6:45pm

 Before 26-year-old Fidel Benitez was shot down April 18 in West Town, he had dreams of attending culinary school, his family said.
Before 26-year-old Fidel Benitez was shot down April 18 in West Town, he had dreams of attending culinary school, his family said.
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LOGAN SQUARE — Fidel Benitez is remembered by his family as a caring, thoughtful person, despite falling in with the wrong crowd.

Benitez, 26, was shot in the head April 18 in an alley at Western Avenue and Division Street, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

No one has been apprehended in connection with his death, according to Chicago police data.

Though Benitez had fallen in with a bad crowd, he wasn’t a member of a gang, his family said.

“We tried to turn him away from the street all the time,” said his mother, Emma Diaz.

But he had been in trouble with the law, court records show. He had been convicted of weapon, drug and DUI offenses, court records show. He had been to prison multiple times.

His family, all of whom call him “Gordito,” a remnant from his days as a chubby baby, said Benitez was good with children. The youngest of four adult siblings was close with his son, Emmanuel, as well as his nieces and nephews. He would often take the children to parks and carnivals. Benitez was also always willing to help his friends take care of their children.

Benitez also had a reputation for being goofy and having a distinctive laugh, Maribel Benitez said. He’d often tell stories that were long-winded with listeners begging him to get to the point. He also was an aspiring fashion trendsetter, wearing things like glasses frames without lenses for weeks at a time.

“He was the type who would just walk out looking ridiculous he tried to start new trends and hope people would follow him,” Maribel Benitez said.

At the time of his death, Benitez was unemployed though had dreams of attending culinary school. His signature dishes usually used chorizo.

“From the smell of the kitchen, we'd know when he was home,” Maribel Benitez said.