By Jeremy Gorner and Andrew L. Wang
9:42 AM CDT, June 16, 2011
The father of a man shot and killed by police on a violent block of West Humboldt Park says he has no idea why officers gunned down his son, whom he described as just a "dorky kid."
"There's witnesses out there that say he didn't have no gun, so I don't know what the hell is going on," Pedro Gonzalez said as he stood in a gangway near his home Wednesday evening, not far from where police shot his 21-year-old son, Pedro Gonzalez III.
Gonzalez was the third person shot on the block in as many days. On Monday, his friend Jovany Diaz was killed as he celebrated his 15th birthday. The next day, a 25-year-old man was wounded in the legs near a street memorial for Diaz.
"This neighborhood is bad," Gonzalez said. "We need more police. . .That's what the mayor says. Let's see what happens."
Officials say three officers in a squad car saw Gonzalez standing near Jovany's memorial near Hirsch and Kolin with what appeared to be a bulge in his waistband. "They can clearly see a weapon stuck into his waistband," said an official with the Fraternal Order of Police.
The officers got out of their car and started chasing the Gonzalez, according to a spokesman for the FOP, Pat Camden. In the 1400 block of North Kolin Avenue, Gonzalez pulled out a gun and was shot by the officers, he said.
Gonzalez was taken in serious to critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m.
Gonzalez's father said he was very protective of his son and didn't want him to leave their home because of all the violence in the neighborhood. His son was a graduate of Roberto Clemente High School; he had been having trouble finding work, and at one point tried to enlist in the Army.
The elder Gonzalez said his son and Jovany were best friends -- like cousins --- and were fans of the Miami Heat and LeBron James.
"He was a good kid," Gonzalez said. He always stayed at home," he said. "I was strict with him."
Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributed.