Female high school wrestling star shot dead in Chicago after Halloween shopping trip

Melissa de la Garza was shot by an unknown attacker outside her home after a Halloween shopping trip

Jade Bremner
Tuesday 28 September 2021 16:38
<p>Melissa ‘Azul’ de la Garza on Solorio Academy High School’s wrestling team </p>

Melissa ‘Azul’ de la Garza on Solorio Academy High School’s wrestling team

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An 18-year-old girl was fatally shot on Saturday night while sitting in her parked car outside her house in Chicago.

Melissa “Azul” de la Garza, whose dad calls her a “warrior princess”, was returning after a Halloween shopping trip when a stranger came up to her car and shot her seven times in the chest before running away.

De la Garza’s father Jose rushed out to the car after hearing the gunshots and immediately called the police.

The teenager was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, but died from her wounds.

She had been speaking to her sister on FaceTime just before the attack. “She just seemed so happy in that FaceTime call,” said older sister Isabel at a press conference following her death. “I can’t fathom this, I can’t understand it. And it’s so heartbreaking for me and my whole family.”

The Chicago Police Department told DailyMail.com that it is so far unclear as to why the teenager was attacked and shot, but it was being investigated.

“For someone to take away my 18-year-old warrior princess … she had a scholarship, and she was a wrestler at Solorio, took second place in state, just doing everything the best way we’ve taught her … For someone to come and take that away for no reason – it doesn’t make any sense,” said Mr de la Garza.

His daughter had just graduated from school and loved sewing and art. She was on Solorio Academy High School’s wrestling team – the second female in the school’s history to be on the team. She was set to go to School of the Art Institute of Chicago, “somewhere they dreamed of going to for years,” states a Go Fund Me page set up in her honour, which so far has $17,100 in donations.

Nine people were shot dead in Chicago over the weekend.

The Independent has contacted the Chicago Police Department for further info on the ongoing investigation.