Mestizo arrested for the gunshot murder of 14-year-old

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Chicago, Illinois – In April, a grieving White mother demanded answers after the senseless murder of her son, 14-year-old Damien Abenante-Villa. Young Damien was shot and killed in broad daylight at a family birthday party in his hometown of tiny Whiting, Indiana.

Dozens gathered to pay their respects to the teenager. Releasing balloons and lighting candles at the scene of his death, Damien’s mother, Amanda Abenante, expressed frustration over a near-total lack of updates from law enforcement.

“It’s four weeks,” she told CBS News. “How much longer? Four months? It’s not going to be four years. Where is the justice?”

20-year-old Leonardo Nunez (left), and 14-year-old Damien Abenante-Villa (right). Collage: Justice Report.

Others who attended the vigil concurred, alleging that someone knew something. Feeling hopeless, they called on those who may know more to come forward with information.

“My baby is gone,” said Amanda, who wore a photo of her only child across her body. “My baby is gone, and I don’t know who did this.”

Finally, after months of waiting, a man local media only described as a “light-skinned male” was charged in connection to Damien’s death, according to Whiting police. The suspect, 20-year-old Leonardo Nunez, was taken into custody by the US Marshal’s Service after they found him taking refuge in a home in north Chicago. The Lake County Prosecutor’s Office issued his arrest warrant, where he was extradited to Indiana.

Court filings revealed that Nunez—who is Mestizo— is now being charged with one count of murder and appeared in court Friday. His defense lawyer, John Canrell, petitioned for a bail review hearing. Nunez is currently being held without bond, and his next court appearance is scheduled for July 26.

The incident first began on the evening of March 23rd, when young Damien was walking to a nearby park with friends and family—all aged 11 to 16. Police then say Nunez shot him in the chest before fleeing the scene. Security footage captured the moments a black Nissan immediately drove away after the shooting, which detectives later discovered to be registered to a relative of Nunez.

Sources claim the teenager, a freshman at De La Salle Institute in Bronzeville, died at the scene, while others say he succumbed to his wounds at St. Catherine’s hospital. Several other children who were present were fortunately spared from physical injuries but instead suffered from lingering mental and emotional trauma, the victim’s family said.

A collage of photos showing Damien Abenante-Villa, who police say was killed by a 20-year-old Mestizo back in March. An arrest took weeks to secure, and the suspect, Leonardo Nunez, was hiding in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: CBS 2 News.

According to an affidavit, a witness told police he was with Abenante when he was gunned down and explained that he had been in a fight with someone known as “Adonis” in 2023. Nunez had been an apparent associate of this “Adonis,” who was confirmed over the course of a police investigation to be Nunez’s brother.

Notably, Damien’s father, Alexander Villa, was once convicted in the fatal shooting of off-duty Black Chicago police officer Clifton Lewis in 2011. The family went on without a father figure in the home when he was ultimately sentenced to life in prison last year. The trial, however, sparked controversy, after Villa’s defense attorneys alleged police and prosecutors worked together to coerced a confession.

Despite these tragedies, a GoFundMe has been set up by the slain 14-year-old’s uncle, Michael Abenante, on behalf of the family, with 100% of donations said to cover the “costs of the funeral, burial, and any other financial needs during their time of grief.”

The GoFundMe further alleged that details of the shooting “have not been disclosed by local investigators” as most of their “questions remain unanswered.” At the time of press, it has raised only $13,030 of its $20,000 goal.

14-year-old Damien Abenante-Villa and his mother, Amanda. Photo: GoFundMe.

Damien, nicknamed “Dae Dae,” was remembered as a smart young man whose “humor was admirable.”

“He was truly loved by everyone,” his uncle wrote.

Like many major cities across the United States, violent crime continues to prove unrelenting and has even expanded into the surrounding suburbs where—decades ago—White populations flocked to more homogenous, racially cohesive communities.

While documenting the 1968 presidential nominating conventions, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer acclaimed in his book, Miami and the Siege of Chicago, “Chicago is the great American city… perhaps (the last) of the great American cities.”

The potential of such a modern metropolis bustling with German immigration and dominating Midwestern commerce by the end of the 19th century was realized in the famous Plan of Chicago in 1909.

Commonly dubbed the “Burnham Plan,” named after renowned architect Daniel Burnham, this was an aspiring architectural endeavor of the Progressive Era to beautify Chicago and further the efficiency of commerce and nature preservation into a “Paris on the Prairie.” The dream never fully came to fruition, however. The onset of the Great Depression and the Second World War led to a more consequential transformation of the city.

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In an October 2019 speech at the Obama Foundation Summit, former First Lady Michelle Obama bitterly recounted the White flight phenomenon her South Shore neighborhood underwent as Whites “disinvested” and “left communities in shambles,” after they uprooted to the suburbs. Few cities were as drastically altered by the Great Migration as the Windy City over the course of six decades.

At the end of the First World War, the Black percentage of Chicago comprised just under 3% of the population. By the turn of the 21st century, that number spiked to one-third of the city’s population, with more Black Americans residing in Chicago than in the entire state of Mississippi.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics surpassed Blacks as the largest racial or ethnic group in Chicago at 30%, resulting in White, Black, and Hispanic demographics each representing a third of the city’s population, with Asian Americans trailing at nearly 7%. 

The Chicago Murder Analysis of 2011 revealed that 75.3% of murder victims and a whopping 70.5% of criminal offenders were Black, while 18.9% of victims and 20.3% of offenders were Hispanic. Whites finished last at 5.6% of victims and 3.5% of offenders.

Racial crime stats from as far back as 2011 show that Black Americans dominate in the realm of murder offenses. In 2024, this number is likely even higher. Infographic: Chicago Murder Analysis (2011)

A more recent analysis from the Chicago Police Department’s annual report published in 2022 showed that arrests increased about 8% across the board for all races and up 4% for Black Americans, leading in the highest percentage of arrests by race.

It is interesting to note that the Hispanic grouping was curiously categorized into “Black Hispanic” or “White Hispanic,” with the latter finishing second to Black Americans by a considerably wide margin.

In 2024 alone, Chicago is leading the nation in the number of homicides, even as Lori Lightfoot’s successor, Black mayor Brandon Johnson’s budget proposal seeks to further reduce the number of Chicago police officers.

Additionally, Johnson’s appointed school board pressed to remove Chicago police officers from the city’s high schools despite a 26% increase in violent crime in 2023. According to the Chicago Tribune, there have been a reported 213 people killed in the year 2024, with little signs of this number slowing down.

The tragic gunshot murder of Damien Abenante-Villa is merely a recent example of Chicago’s violent crime issue, one that continues to spill out into neighboring Indiana. There, White demographics are facing similar statewide encroachment from non-White populations.

Jewish Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker has regularly advocated for non-White migrants and has passed legislation allowing them to receive driver’s licenses and even become law enforcement. Photo: Illinois Governor’s Office

“The crime right now is so high, there’s such a fever pitch that guns are everywhere on the streets,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield remarked in 2021, the worst he claimed to have witnessed in 25 years.

Even now, the Windy City continues to be overwhelmed by an influx of non-White migrants, facilitated by not only Mayor Johnson but the state’s Jewish governor, J.B. Pritzker. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland, both claim the new Biden administration initiative, titled “Recent Arrivals Docket,” aims to speed up processing for asylum seekers, specifically single adults in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta within 180 days.

“The Next Great Migration,” outlined in a 2021 Politico article, is underway with much of Chicago’s Black population leaving the city, partially as a result of mass migration in recent years:

  • “The impact on Chicago has been stark, not only in the feeling and identities of neighborhoods like Englewood, but in the power politics of the nation’s third-largest city. Latino residents are beginning to replace Black residents, forcing a realignment in Chicago’s political scene — and a return of the bare-knuckle tribal fights that made Chicago’s City Hall legendary.”

The rising discontent among Black Chicagoans, especially regarding government assistance being granted to migrants, has emerged as an ironic twist of fate.

“How did we become like the White folks who were resisting our people coming to the city of Chicago?” Richard Wallace, the Black founder of Equity and Transformation, who previously “encouraged dialogue” between the city’s non-White residents at the expense of White ones.

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