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After Girl Killed On Lake Shore Drive, Mom Says Chicago 'Not Safe Anywhere'

By Evan F. Moore | May 30, 2016 9:35pm
 Diane Mercado, center, talks about the slaying of her 15-year-old daughter Veronica Lopez.
Diane Mercado, center, talks about the slaying of her 15-year-old daughter Veronica Lopez.
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DNAinfo/Evan F. Moore

BELMONT CRAGIN — The mother of a teenaged girl shot dead while in a car on Lake Shore Drive lamented Sunday night that "it's not safe anywhere in Chicago."

Diane Mercado said her daughter, Veronica Lopez, 15, wanted to leave Chicago because of the violence, which already claimed two of her friends.

"Especially after two of her friends were murdered, she couldn't take it anymore," Mercado said Sunday night outside her Belmont Cragin home.

"We were planning to move to Florida. It's hard to get out of this neighborhood. This neighborhood didn't even take her. It's not safe anywhere in the city of Chicago."


At 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Lopez and a 28-year-old man were driving on Lake Shore Drive near Fullerton when a black Nissan pulled up and someone inside fired shots at them, said Officer Bari Lemmon, a Chicago Police spokeswoman.

Lopez was hit multiple times and later died at Illinois Masonic Hospital. The man in the car, described as a documented gang member by police, was grazed in the head and survived.

Police said reports show only two people were in the car, but Lopez's family is convinced a third person was there as well. They're begging her to tell them more.

Mercado said her daughter told her she was spending the night at a friend's house. The friend is the third person involved, Mercado said. 

"Tell us something," Mercado said. "You were the last with my child."

Samantha Mercado, Lopez's sister, said the girl has not reached out to the family. 

"She hasn't. Not an inbox. Not a voicemail," Samantha Mercado said. "The least she could do is tell her mother that she's sorry. I know that my sister would want me to be strong for my mother."

Samantha Mercado said someone has to know why someone shot at the car her sister was in.

"Somebody knows something. It could be bogus information. We'll be the judge of that," she said. "Somebody is bragging. Somebody has to know something. We're trying to get closure."

Operation Restoring Innocence is offering a $1000 reward for information regarding the whereabouts of Veronica's killer, said Andrew Holmes, an activist. 

No one is in custody for the shooting at this time, police said. 

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