A US Army veteran was shot and killed while walking his dog in Little Village on Tuesday morning.
According to police, Jason Benitez, 30, was walking his dog around 1:15 a.m. in the 3400 block of West 30th Street, just a few blocks away from his home.
Benitez was discovered unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the face and was pronounced dead later. According to family, the dog eventually returned 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,” said Alfredo Benitez, the dog’s father. “This was not his fault.”
The Army veteran returned home from a tour in South Korea two years ago, hoping to find love and start a family in his hometown of Chicago.
Alfredo Benitez explained, “He wanted to start a family.” “If he goes (on another tour), he’ll waste four more years of his life trying to be a loving father.”
His father stated that Benitez enjoyed cooking and had recently started working at a downtown steakhouse.
“He only got the job a week ago because he was working at a railroad and didn’t want to be away,” said Alfredo Benitez. “He was a wonderful person. He would assist anyone in need.”
While there are no leads at this time, family members told WGN News that detectives have been helpful. A reward of up to $15,000 is being offered for an arrest and conviction.
The “huge” extended family of more than 100 people simply wants justice.
“We’re losing too many people because of stupid mistakes, and we’re getting rid of people who have positively influenced others,” sister Iris Benitez said. “He had a positive impact on everyone he met.” His main priority was family and being present.”
At this time, a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses has raised more than $3,000.
Benitez’s funeral will be held Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, 3117 S. Oak Park Ave. in Berwyn.
There are no suspects in custody. Anyone with information can submit it anonymously to cpdtip.com.