Chicago resident Soccoro Toscano has given birth to five children. Tonight, "her baby" of the five will be laid to rest.
Fourteen-year-old Enrique Chavez was her youngest child, and also perhaps the most complicated. He didn't much like 8th grade, and often did not go to school. His family says when he was in school he was often rebellious. But Soccoro says her son was good and respectful to her and her family.
On Monday, Enrique was viciously killed, adding to an unfathomably tragic string of murders in this city. The overall murder rate in Chicago has gone down over the years, but this academic year, 30 school-age youngsters have been killed. Police keep records by calendar years, not by school years, but regardless, this spree in this 2006-2007 school year has been horrifying. Anderson hosted a live program in Chicago last week to bring national attention to this sad story; since we did the program, two more kids, including Enrique, have died. (Read Anderson Cooper's take on Chicago's deadly school year
The murder of Enrique is hard to believe even by these sorry standards. His family says he did not go to school this past Monday, instead taking his uncle's van and two friends out for a joyride. As the 14-year-old was driving, somebody started shooting at the van. The vehicle overturned; Enrique and his friends jumped out and ran. His friends got away, but Enrique was shot in the head and then viciously beaten. He died in a hospital the next day. Police believe the killing was gang related; and that nine or ten males were involved. Nobody has been arrested.
Enrique's mother told me in Spanish her son wasn't in a gang. There's no way for us, or police for that matter, to know for sure. But it doesn't change this terribly sad outcome for a boy who had his whole life in front of him, and a family that still can't believe this happened.
-- By Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent