Debbie Hicks-Caluya buried her son this morning, two years after burying another son, and five years after laying a third son to rest.

All three were shot and killed. The latest was 21-year old Jose Sanchez-Guerrero, who was hit by multiple rounds on Hovland Court in Evanston on March 12.

“We’ve been here three times,” said the Rev. Kenneth Cherry, in a March 26 eulogy at Christ Temple Missionary Baptist Church. “I know you’re tired,” he said to Hicks-Caluya. “And it’s just so unfair that we live in such a way that we bring this kind of grief on one mother.”

But while the homicide was March 12, and the church service was March 26, the funeral was not until today. Debbie Hicks-Caluya could not afford the burial.

A GoFundMe account, set up by one of Jose’s friends, brought in close to $20,000 to cover the expenses. But in an April 1 call to Evanston Now, a frustrated Hicks-Caluya said there was some sort of roadblock getting the money from Jose’s skateboarding friend who set up the fund to the institutions that would handle the burial.

GoFundMe looked into it, and the money was transferred.

Rev. Cherry told Evanston Now “no parent is thinking about burying our children. I can’t imagine her dealing with financial hardship at the same time.”

Sanchez-Guerrero, of Glenview, was not the only one killed on Hovland Court last month. 20-year old Demarcus Coakley of Des Plaines was also fatally shot. An 18-year old Evanston man received what were termed non-life-threatening wounds.

Police said at the time they believe the shooting was not random, although there was no word as to which of the victims were the intended targets. No suspects have been named at this time either.

In the meantime, Jose’s mother is coping with incredible pain. “We just buried him,” she said. “We just put the last of the dirt” on his grave.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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