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Boy, 13, Fatally Shot Protecting Sisters in Belmont Cragin, Family Says

By Josh McGhee | February 9, 2015 6:21am | Updated on February 9, 2015 11:08am
 The 13-year-old boy was fatally shot in the 6000 block of West Grand Avenue in Belmont Cragin, police said.
Belmont Cragin Homicide
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CHICAGO — Anthony Diaz was usually a homebody who steered clear of danger, but Sunday night he left the safety of his Belmont Cragin home to keep a watchful eye on his two older sisters, his family said.

The two sisters left the house just after 10 p.m. with their 13-year-old brother trailing behind to "settle a dispute" that might have started on social media, said Anthony's father, Ralph Otero.

"I felt like it wasn't right. He said, 'We'll be right back' and, obviously, he never came back," Otero said. "They went to take care of it and he went tagging along. I didn't know what was going on."

When the children left, Otero pondered waking his exhausted wife, who worked a 12-hour shift Sunday. But just minutes later, the daughters returned in a panic without Anthony, Otero said.

 Anthony Diaz, 13, was fatally shot in Belmont Cragin Sunday night, police said.
Anthony Diaz, 13, was fatally shot in Belmont Cragin Sunday night, police said.
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Around 10:35 p.m., Anthony was walking with the group in the 6000 block of West Grand Avenue, when he was fatally shot, said Officer Hector Alfaro, a Chicago Police spokesman.

The group was barely a block away from the home when they were met by a large group and the situation turned violent. A fight broke out between them and at least 8 other people, and one of the men pulled out a gun and opened fire, Otero said.

Anthony was shot multiple times in the left side of his body, Alfaro said. He was recording the fight on his cellphone when he was shot, Otero said.

When the group heard the gunfire, they scattered. Anthony's sisters ran home not realizing their brother wasn't behind them. Minutes later, they returned to a horrifying scene, Otero said.

"I ran over there and seen his body on the ground. I crossed the yellow tape and three officers pulled me away," Otero said. "I'm still stunned and heavily devastated. It's like a dream. We're all just dreaming."

Anthony, of the 2100 block of McVicker Avenue, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, said Alfaro.

He was pronounced dead at 11:26 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Anthony was an eighth-grader at Burbank Elementary, 2035 N. Mobile Ave., who enjoyed sports and dreamed of being a professional basketball or baseball player. He spent most of his time in his home watching sports and playing video games, his family said.

"He never gave us a headache, never got into trouble. He was just a normal kid. I never expected something like this," said Otero, a life-long Chicago resident.

Irma Cornier, a family friend said Anthony was "a good kid" trying to protect his family.

"This wasn't gang-related. It was just about love. He was a good kid and outstanding young man protecting his sisters. He would've been an amazing man," Cornier said.

Police are investigating the shooting, which does not appear to be gang-related. No one is in custody.

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