BY KENNY NGUYEN
Homicide Watch Chicago
Alexandria Burgos enjoyed working with children and wanted to pursue a career in social work, her mother said.
“Her goal [was] to work in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center,” said Burgos mother, Milagros Burgos. “She had her heart set up to help kids that needed help.”
Alexandria Burgos, 18, was fatally shot in the 5300 block of West Oakdale Avenue about 12:35 a.m. Oct. 19, authorities said.
She was sitting in an apartment when gunfire erupted outside and one of the bullets came through the window and struck her in the head, police said.
Milagros Burgos said her daughter had recently started a new job at a YMCA in north suburban Niles. On the night of the shooting, she left work, briefly stopped home then went to pick up a sibling from a friend’s home, where she was shot.
“She did her sisterly duty,” Milagros Burgos said. “She was a protective sister and he knew that, she was always there when he needed her.”
Alexandria Burgos had always helped her family and area children. Before working at the YMCA, she worked with children as a recreational leader at the Chicago Park District, her mother said.
“The kids in general had an attachment with Alexandria,” Milagros Burgos said. “Not that she did it purposely, but they loved the way she was — her mannerism and her kindness.”
Alexandria Burgos went to Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, where she took part in an After School Matters program that provided the opportunity to go to culinary school for six months, her mother said.
“She loved baking. She would make chocolate, velvet or lemon cake for the holidays,” Milagros Burgos said. “She also thought about doing cooking as a career but she decided she wanted that to be a hobby and not a living.”
After high school, Alexandria Burgos enrolled at Wilbur Wright College and hoped to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree in social work, her mother said.
In addition to working with children and baking, Alexandria Burgos enjoyed music and dancing, her mother said.
“She knew how to dance,” Milagros Burgos said. “She did her own choreography for her cotillion. She had a hidden talent that I would see and I would tell her that she should go to school in that.”
Alexandria Burgos’ athleticism wasn’t limited to dance, and she played baseball, basketball and softball in high school, her mother said.
“One time I went to Alexandria’s basketball game and I called the referee an umpire instead of a referee, and she would just smile back,” Milagros Burgos said.
Melissa Hernandez said she will remember her friend’s welcoming personality more than anything.
“Her smile was something I would never forget,” Hernandez said. “She was so bright and welcoming. She impacted people’s lives in the ways no one else could. Alexandria had a ton of potential, she was about to change people’s lives and it’s unfortunate that she didn’t have that opportunity.”
Another friend, Marissa Finley, noted how Alexandria Burgos’ personality affected others.
“She was a really happy person. Her positivity and her smile was just so contagious,” Finley said.
Finley and Alexandria Burgos became friends when they were young and the pair bonded at family parties and vacations to the Wisconsin Dells and Florida, Finley said.
The day before the shooting, Finley invited Alexandria Burgos to her first-ever professional show at Second City, Finley said.
“She kept texting me saying, ‘I hope I will make it,’” Finley said. “She was like a sister to me. She was so close to me, so the fact that she would miss that … I would be really heartbroken. She tried everything and beyond to make it, and she did.”
The last time Finley saw her friend was after the show.
“The fact that she loved me, and the fact that I loved her the exact same way, is like I can’t believe this happened,” Finley said. “She was a very big piece of my heart that will never be filled again.”
After Alexandria Burgos’ death, her grammar school, middle school and college held a moment of silence in her honor, said her mother, who believes there needs to be more programs for youths to stop violence.
“There has to be more reach out programs to reach out to the kids and show them that we care and love them, and that they don’t need to be out there hurting others and themselves,” Milagros Burgos said.
“Alexandria was a peacemaker, she didn’t like conflicts. She didn’t like any type of controversy. She always makes sure everyone got along, she loving and a very humbled person.”
Nobody has been charged for the murder. Area North detectives are investigating.