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Albany Park residents gather for peace march after uptick in neighborhood violence

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CHICAGO -- Albany Park residents concerned about recent violence said they are committed to working together for change and came together Wednesday evening for “A March for Peace.”

Neighbors came together after a series of shootings that left their community shaken.

“We need peace in this community. We need the police to be more involved. We need the cameras to work,” Maria Algarin, a shooting victim’s aunt.

Relatives of Carlos Pagan wore T-shirts with his smiling picture. The 19-year-old was shot and killed Aug. 2 near Albany Avenue and Argyle Street.

“For our family it’s been nightmare,” Algarin said.

A week later, 20-year-old Darius Ortiz was killed in a shooting on the 3800 block of West Argyle Street around 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 13. Ortiz's grandmother was also in the arm.

“We have seen an uptick in violence in Albany Park. We’ve had a series of shooting and that’s why we’re out here tonight as a community to show our community that these are our streets. We want to raise our families here. We want to feel safe here, and we’re visible and were not afraid,” Ald. Deb Mell, 33rd Ward, said.

“We want everyone to know that no matter where you live in the neighborhood, you’re still a still a part of Albany Park,” Laura Kehoe, Albany Park Neighbors, said.

Wednesday’s march ended at La Michoacana on Lawrence Avenue where families gathered for cold treats. A bullet pierced the window of the business in another shooting earlier this month. No one was hurt.

“It’s hard for me because it’s like a repeat. I feel like I’ve lost my son again and again and I feel like we need to do something,” Irma Aragon, who lost her son, Israel, to gun violence, said.

Aragon lost her son two years ago. She said she said she hopes the peace march sends a message.

“I don’t want our future, our kids growing up thinking, this is normal. Because this is not normal,” she said.

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