‘Focus was family’: Army veteran shot, killed while walking dog in Little Village
CHICAGO — A United States Army veteran was shot and killed while walking his dog Tuesday morning in Little Village.
Jason Benitez, 30, was walking his dog at around 1:15 a.m. in the 3400 block of West 30th Street just a few blocks away from his residence.
Benitez was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the face and was later pronounced dead. Family said the dog ended up walking back to home and a neighbor, who knew the dog, was able to identify the 30-year-old.
“He loved his dog — it was like his baby,” father Alfredo Benitez said. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Two years ago, the Army veteran returned home from a tour in South Korea with the goal of finding love and starting a family in his hometown — Chicago.
“He wanted to start a family,” father Alfredo Benitez said. “If he goes again (on another tour), it’ll waste four more years of his life to try to become a loving father.”
His father said Benitez loved to cook and just got a job at a steakhouse downtown.
“He just got the job a week ago because he was working at a railroad and didn’t want to be gone,” Benitez said. “He was a great guy. He would help anyone who needed it.”
While there are no leads yet, family told WGN News detectives have been helpful. Up to a $15,000 reward is being offered for an arrest and conviction.
The “huge” extended family of over 100 just wants justice.
“We are losing too many people because of stupid mistakes and getting rid of people who changed others in a positive way,” sister Iris Benitez said. “Every person he met, he affected in a good way. His main focus was family and being there.”
A GoFundMe for funeral expenses has raised over $3,000 at this time. Services for Benitez will take place Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, located at 3117 S. Oak Park Ave. in Berwyn.
No suspects are in custody. Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip at cpdtip.com.
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