A 24-year-old man “more than likely” shot his girlfriend in the neck on accident while trying to fend off a “swarm” of people who pulled the couple out of their car on a busy Humboldt Park street near last month’s Puerto Rican Day festivities, police said Saturday.
Gyovanni Arzuaga was then fatally shot “execution-style” by Anthony Lorenzi during the vicious June 19 encounter that was captured on video, according to Chicago police. Yasmin Perez, the mother of Arzuaga’s two young children, died three days later.
Lorenzi, 34, was arrested Friday in San Diego. He’s awaiting extradition to Chicago, where he’ll face just one charge of first-degree murder because investigators say the evidence suggests Arzuaga inadvertently shot his 25-year-old girlfriend after they were ambushed in a “frenzy” on Division Street.
The couple were driving with two friends in the backseat about 9 p.m. in the 3200 block of West Division when they got into a “minor traffic accident” with the vehicle in front of them, according to CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan.
A “swarm” of people then attacked, “punching and trying to pull them out of the car,” Deenihan said — all of which was captured on surveillance video.
A gunshot rang out, hitting Perez in the neck. Arzuaga was then pulled out of the car completely and shot in the head “almost execution-style,” Deenihan said.
Graphic video of the shooting began circulating online within hours. Police received several tips identifying Arzuaga’s shooter as Lorenzi, who left for San Diego the morning after the shooting, Deenihan said.
But the bullet that killed Perez “more than likely” came from a .40 caliber gun inside the car that was recovered from Arzuaga, Deenihan said, citing the video. Authorities recovered a shell casing that matched the gun and are performing ballistics tests to confirm.
“Everything points to — once again, more than likely — that [Arzuaga] discharged that firearm, accidentally, causing that gunshot wound” to Perez, Deenihan said.
But “this individual in custody — Lorenzi — he is the one responsible for this death. There is nobody else responsible,” Deenihan added.
Lorenzi was arrested by U.S. Marshals Friday evening outside an apartment complex in San Diego. It wasn’t clear how long it would take for him to appear before a Cook County judge.
Lorenzi has previously been convicted seven times, most recently for a 2016 case of aggravated fleeing and eluding from an attempted “vehicle invasion” that took place two blocks away from the scene of last month’s shooting, according to CPD Supt. David Brown.
Detectives have yet to interview Lorenzi. Police said the couple posted a photo online of themselves holding guns before the parade, but Deenihan said the motive for the attack is unknown.
“It appears that it’s possibly just the car accident, and then that immediate frenzy that occurred,” he said.
The couple leave behind two young children.
“It may look hard for a lot of people, but Yasmin was such a great mom,” her friend Jae Pacheco previously told the Sun-Times. “She loved her kids so much. You could tell they were so loved, and they were so happy.”
Arzuaga “was just about being around good vibes, being around good people,” Pacheco said.
Investigators are still looking for an unspecified number of other possible suspects in connection with the case.