A Pleasantville woman is looking for justice a month after her teenage son was fatally gunned down in Chicago.
Joaquin Daniel Lobato-Lopez had just gotten take-out from a Chinese restaurant at about 6:15 p.m. Jan. 17, when two suspects pulled up in a vehicle, got out and opened fire, police said.
The 17-year-old suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at Loyala Hospital.
Police said her son was not the intended target, Bricia Lopez told BreakingAC. But they haven’t told her much more than that.
“I call every week, ‘Do you have something new to tell me?'” she told BreakingAC. “‘Just tell me whatever you know about the case.'”
Lopez sent her son to stay with her brother in Chicago last year after the teen was having problems at Pleasantville High School.
He came home last summer, and worked for a while at the MGM Car Wash in Egg Harbor Township. But he decided he wanted to go back to Chicago, where he could make more money. He was working two jobs, and helping to get his mother a car.
“He said, ‘Mom, don’t worry, I’m going to buy you a car,” Joaquin told her.
He already had given her $2,600 and said he would have more in a few weeks.
The teen planned to come home in February, after saving up more money.
“Oh Mom, look, I’m making eggs and coffee,” a smiling Joaquin told her in a FaceTime call around 10 a.m. Jan. 17.
He was smiling, like always, she recalled.
“Whenever you see his face, there’s a smile,” Lopez said.
Hours later, he was gone.
Lopez and her other three children had just returned from Chicago that Friday, after visiting for two weeks.
“My son was a lovely boy,” Lopez said.
“He was a very popular kid in the Mexican community around here in South Jersey,” said Jacob Solano, who taught Joaquin dance and boxing. “He was very, very humble and smiled at everybody, even strangers.”
It was the teen’s smile that won over everyone’s heart, Solano added.
“How can you not like him?” he asked.
Lopez, who was just a teen herself when Joaquin was born, said she worked hard to prove she could be a good mother and provide for her family.
“My son showed me I wanted to fight for him,” she said. “I wanted to show my son I could handle it and now these guys just came and killed him. I just want to know what happened. I just want justice for my son.”