CHICAGO
10/10/2011 10:23 am ET Updated Dec 10, 2011

Eric Galarza, 5, Killed In Apparent Gang-Related Shooting That Targeted Family

A 5-year-old boy was killed in a gang-related shooting Friday while he sat in the back seat of his family's car in his Elgin driveway.

Someone fired multiple shots toward the car as it backed out of the family's driveway, located in the 900 block of Elma Avenue in the northwest suburb, around 7 p.m. Friday. Eric Galarza, Jr., was shot in the head. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Eric was with his parents, an aunt and his two siblings in the car at the time the shooting occurred. None of the other individuals in the car were hurt in the shooting.

After the boy's parents realized their son had been shot, they drove to a gas station about a half-mile away to dial 911, the Sun-Times reports. Eric was then taken to Elgin's Sherman Hospital, where he died.

Eric was described by his mother, Denisse, as "a funny little boy, always happy and talking," as she told the Chicago Tribune. He was learning to read and loved playing with dogs.

"I can't believe they took him away from us," she added.

Elgin police believe the car was likely targeted in a gang-related shooting and say they are currently looking into multiple "solid leads," the Daily Herald reports. They are reaching out to the public hoping that anyone with information will come forward via the department's anonymous tip line at (847) 695-4195. Information may also be shared on the department's website.

"We have everybody working on this case, all our detectives headed by our gang unit," a police spokeswoman told the Daily Herald.

Photo by [puamelia] via Flickr.