As the Omicron strain of the Covid-19 virus wreaks havoc everywhere you turn this holiday season, another epidemic keeps claiming life after promising life. This epidemic is uniquely American – the gun violence epidemic. On Saturday, December 11th, a 26-year-old queer man was shot in the head and killed in Chicago.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of another member of the Asian American community, Suraj Mahadeva, who was a victim of gun violence in Palmer Square over the weekend. Suraj had his whole life ahead of him and we are heartbroken that his life was cut short. pic.twitter.com/sA4PTs9qoK
— AdvancingJustice|Chi (@AAAJ_Chicago) December 15, 2021
According to The Advocate,
“Suraj Mahadeva was shot in the head while waiting outside a friend’s home around 3:25 a.m., according to authorities. Saturday morning he was waiting to be let into his friend’s residence when he was shot. His friend ran outside to help. Mahadeva was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police reported.”
If anyone of you can please support this Gofundme for the family of my friend, it would be greatly appreciated. It will go towards the cost of the funeral. I love you Suraj, I hope you feel the love of the people whose lives you have impacted. https://t.co/Ve6irBlVxW
— Jolly Old St Himberly (@himbo_anonymous) December 17, 2021
An exceptional young man and active member of the queer community Mahadeva worked as a medical clinician, In his free time, he assisted young people experiencing homelessness, promoted local LGBTQ pride events, and volunteered his time to teach kids with autism how to swim.
Suraj Mahadeva,26, was shot and killed in Palmer Square neighborhood Saturday.
He worked as a medical technician.
A friend of his called the shooting an execution style murder.
No arrests have been made.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) December 17, 2021
Friends and family remembered the young man at a memorial this past Thursday at the Center on Halstead, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ center. Many spoke about the magnitude of this loss to the community,
“I don’t think I will ever meet anyone like him. He taught me so much about life. He had such an open mind. He was so curious [about] people and getting to know them, and understanding their lives and trying to walk in their shoes. … I really think the world is going to be a dimmer place without him.” -Teja Kodali, high school and college friend
“[A] beautiful, brilliant person – always charismatic, effervescent, happy. I want tonight to be solemn, but also joyful – because that’s what he would have wanted.” – J. Saxon-Maldonado, friend
“I’m going to miss his smiles and hugs.” – Jen, family member
Suraj Mahadeva and I weren’t super close but we were neighbors and crossed paths on the regular and, every time we did, I was so struck by the kindness and warmth and generous energy that radiated effortlessly outward and this is so senseless and sad RIP https://t.co/8SJqIAj1FJ
— Zachary Whittenburg (@trailerpilot) December 14, 2021
A GoFundMe has been set up to offset funeral costs. As of the writing of this article, no arrests have been made.
Sources: The Advocate