BLOOMINGTON - A 20-year-old Bloomington man died of a single gunshot to the head during a robbery Dec. 20 outside a club in Chicago, authorities said Tuesday.
Milagro Rials was getting into a car when he was shot by a man trying to rob him at 2 a.m. in the 700 block of West 59th St. in the South Side Englewood area, Chicago police said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital three hours later, police said.
An estimated 100 family members were at a club for a family birthday party, said his mother, Sharon Brown of Champaign, on Tuesday. He was with a cousin and two sisters when he was shot, she said.
Brown said she believes her son was shot because the robber was angry that he didn't have any money.
"All he had was his Social Security ID, his cell phone and one dollar," she said.
Darion Ross, 19, of Chicago, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting, police said.
Many of the partygoers were going to their cars at the time the shots rang out, said his aunt, Paulette Mullen of Bloomington.
"I heard three shots - I saw my nephew lying on the ground," Mullen said. "I heard someone screaming, 'he shot my brother!'"
Rials was with two sisters, Crystal Parks, 30, and Doctorre Sharp, 31, both of Chicago, and his cousin, Tasha Rials, 26, Bloomington, when he was shot.
Brown said her son worked at Culver's, 1807 W. Market St., Bloomington. He went to Chicago only for the party because he had to work the next day. Rials, who started working at age 15, was about to start a second job at a sandwich shop, Brown said.
"He never said 'Mom, I need gas money.' He never said, 'Mom, I need rent money,'" Brown said. "He took care of his own apartment, paid his own rent."
Culver's manager Patricia Altes praised him as "a very outstanding employee." He worked there two years, she said.
"We all took it pretty hard," she said, adding Culver's has collected $1,640 so far for his family through donations at the cash register.
Brown said she moved in 1997 to the Twin Cities from the Robert Taylor Homes housing project in Chicago when her son was 9 years old because she wanted him safe. Rials attended Fairview Elementary School, Normal, and Normal Community West High School.
His funeral will be at noon today at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, 801 W. Market St., Bloomington, with burial at Evergreen Cemetery, Bloomington. Leak & Sons Funeral Chapel, 7838 Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, is in charge of arrangements.