Cicero paramedics, retired firefighter sued over photo of dying man

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CICERO, Ill. —  A woman whose brother was fatally shot during last summer’s unrest in the Town of Cicero filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging that two paramedics allowed a photo to be taken of the dying man and that a retired fire department lieutenant posted it on Facebook along with a disparaging caption.

In the lawsuit, Adriana Cazares contends that her brother, Victor Cazares Jr., was shot by an unknown gunman on June 1 after going to a grocery store in the town of Cicero.

“He heard a lot of commotion outside and decided to go out to see what he could do to help and that cost him his life,” Adriana Cazares said.

Victor Cazares Jr.

The lawsuit contends that two paramedics, Justin Zheng and Gene Lazcano either took the photograph or allowed someone else to take it within minutes of their arrival at the scene of the shooting. It allegedly showed the 27-year-old Cazares on a stretcher, his head wrapped in what appears to be blood-drenched gauze, and was sent to Frank R. Rand, a retired Cicero Fire Department lieutenant.

“It’s just malicious,” Cazares said. “No one should have done that.”

Rand, according to the lawsuit, quickly posted it to a Facebook group of 8,000 people who grew up in Cicero, along with a caption that read, “Come to Cicero to loot and break s(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)! Get a free body bag! Nice head shot!”

“The man who did this and posted this knew nothing about him other than the color of his skin and that he had been shot,” said Cazares family attorney Mike Kanovitz.

In a statement, Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania called the incident a tragedy, adding that the lieutenant who circulated the picture retired years ago. The spokesman adds that the town has no control over what the retiree posts to social media. The police department and the city’s internal affairs office have been investigating the incident, however.

He adds that the two paramedics are not Cicero employees but work for a private company.

Hanania said that Cicero’s investigators haven’t determined who took the photograph but believe it was taken from inside the ambulance.

“I think they completely disrespected him, disrespected his privacy,” Adriana Cazares said.

Adriana Cazares

Even worse for the family, the person(s) responsible for Cazares’ death remain at large. They ask anyone with information to come forward.

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