CHICAGO — A celebration of life was held Tuesday for an Army veteran shot and killed last week while walking his dog in Chicago’s Little Village.
It’s a case, police say, remains unsolved.
Amid a grieving family’s search for answers and justice, loved ones remembered 30-year-old Jason Benitez for his heart of gold and smile that could light up a room.
“He had a great heart,” Jason’s father, Alfredo Benitez, said. “He had such a beautiful heart.”
A former coworker and friend of Jason Benitez remembered the slain veteran as always present.
“You could tell just by looking at him that he was always thinking about what he needed to do to make things better,” the friend said.
It was on Nov. 30 that Jason Benitez’s life was cut short. A GoFundMe for funeral expenses has raised more than $8,000 of its $12,000 goal.
“It’s tragic,” his friend said.
Loved ones say it hurts them to know that Jason Benitez gave so much to others only to have his life ripped away.
“He did four years in South Korea, came back, and went back again,” Jason’s father said.
The grieving father shared that Jason’s love for cooking became a paid passion as he recently began working at a downtown steakhouse. His father added that making a better living and possibly starting a family was Jason’s motivation.
“But he never got the chance,” Alfredo Benitez said.
Family reiterated their pleas to the public, asking anyone with information to come forward, not just for them but for other victims of gun violence.
Anyone with information about the shooting may leave an anonymous tip at cpdtip.com.
“It hurt me, but the whole community is the one that’s suffering from all of this,” Alfredo Benitez said. “I never thought this would happen to me, but I’m here now with my son.”