WICKER PARK — The family of slain teen Cesar Perez wants the public to join them in remembering their son and brother at the site where he was gunned down at a busy intersection near the CTA Division Blue Line "L" stop one year ago.
Scheduled for 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the memorial for Perez will be held in the Polish Triangle, in the 1200 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.
"We still have no justice for my brother, now a year later. For us, it still feels just like yesterday when he left us. My family is torn. Nobody is the same and none of us will be the same again," said Brittney Fisher, Cesar's oldest sister.
Cesar, who lived two bocks away from the place he was killed, in the 1400 block of West Division, was shot in in the head on March 9, 2016. Police say it was a targeted, gang-related shooting. The killer ran away and is at large.
Since Cesar's death, a tree and tree pit have served as a memorial for the longtime resident and former Wells Community Academy High School student.
Earlier this week, there were plants and candles surrounding the tree.
A memorial for Cesar near where he was killed. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
Marsha Perez, Cesar's mother, denied her son was a gang member but acknowledged that he had many friends, including some whom are in gangs.
Perez told DNAinfo that her son was nicknamed "The Referee" because he often got in the middle of neighborhood disagreements in order to stop them.
On the one-month anniversary of Cesar's death last April, the family hosted a "Unite to STOP the Violence Vigil" and some mourners responded to online commenters who pegged Cesar as a gang member.
"These posts can cause more violence. If you have something to say, why don't you come down here and contribute to the community and help us?" Perez's aunt Jasmine Molina said. "Don't hide behind your computer and post negative comments."
Fisher said that she has had a difficult year mourning her brother.
"People say it gets easier as time passes. No, it does not. It gets worse, and the urge and desire to see him only gets longer and stronger. I haven't touched or heard or held or hugged or laughed or joked with my little brother for an entire year. It's been the worst year of my life," Fisher said.