What’s going on? Somebody heard a gunshot. Nobody for sure knew but there were police everywhere. Somebody said a guy was locked in the Church restroom and he had a gun. As the crowd gathered outside one officer yelled ordering the people to move back. It had been raining all day long and the wind was starting to pick up. “Does anyone know who it is?” someone questioned. “No but he keeps screaming that he ain’t leaving” another answered. What did that mean? “This is the police, come out with your hands up!” rang a voice on a loud speaker. Everyone got quiet. In the distance the sound of more sirens approaching broke the silence. “No one wants to hurt you come out!” squealed the speaker. From inside a man’s voice screamed “I’m not leaving!”. And then a gunshot.
A 32-year old well-known community organizer has ended his life in the restroom of the 2nd Ave. Catholic Church. As the news reported the man possibly facing deportation was dealing with anxiety and depression.
Juan Garcia had come to the United States 30 years earlier as an illegal immigrant with his parents. A quiet boy, Juan loved to read and write growing up. After becoming an alter boy Juan also volunteered at the local food bank. Eventually Juan graduated from high school. He was encouraged to enter the priesthood. However, when Juan attempted to apply for seminary he found out he was undocumented. His parents had never told him of his past. He became angry with his parents, his situation, and his life. With his hopes dashed Juan began dealing with anxiety and depression. Although Juan continued to attend mass nobody knew his heart.
Juan was asked by his priest when he would enter seminary. Being ashamed of his illegal status he told the priest he was not interested anymore. Shortly after talking to the priest Juan stopped attending mass. Juan realized that he was becoming nervous around police. He hated police now, and judges, and laws. Since Juan was dealing with anxiety and depression he used marijuana and alcohol help. When Juan’s mother died he promised her he would straighten up his act. He went back to church and mass but nobody knew his heart. There Juan met this girl named Maria a devout Catholic and they were married six months later. Maria worked at a good paying company and she wanted Juan to get a job there. Of course Juan’s illegal status prevented him again. He began to use marijuana and drink alcohol very heavily. Maria hated the smell and protested vehemently. One time before Juan could realize it he hit Maria.
Maria moved out and never returned. Juan sank deeper into dealing with anxiety and depression. One evening Juan visited his father. His father was almost blind and needed a new liver. Juan asked his father why did he come to America. He was told how much his father wanted a better life for Juan. He said how great America was to give everyone a chance. Juan laughed at that, kissed his father and ask his father to tell him about back home. He was told how old Mexico used to have plenty of jobs and food but things had changed. He told how Juan’s mother carried him for hundreds of miles across the desert. How her feet bled when her shoes wore out. He told how they were shot at by farmers and chased, When Juan’s father spoke of the Rio Grande river he stood up. He told of how glorious the land looked on the other side and how wading through the water was like a refreshing of life.
Juan got the news that his father had died from a friend who he did landscaping with. Although his father never really went to mass the Priest of 2nd Ave. Catholic officiated the service. As Juan stood over his father’s casket he once again remembered the promise he made to his mother. He decided to come back to church. Immediately Juan organized a youth program to offer kids an alternative to substance abuse. In about a year Juan’s program had over a hundred in membership. Some kids were not just quitting drugs but graduating from high school, getting GEDs, and on to college. Juan was awarded a community action certificate and honored at city hall. Things were going well for Juan. He even went into business landscaping with a friend.
One evening one of Juan’s kids ask if he could talk to him privately. Juan agreed, so the boy sat down and started crying. The boy asked if god hears his prayers. Juan responded saying sure he does, and why do you ask that? The boy said he had been asking god to keep his dad from being deported. But the boy said his dad was supposed to be deported in three weeks and god hadn’t done nothing. Juan comforted the boy and told him don’t worry about it. He said god would take care of it. The boy got up, thanked him and left. Juan said a little prayer for the boy. But something bothered him and nobody knew his heart. At home Juan thought about the boy’s question again. He couldn’t believe that he was doubting his faith. He wondered where that was coming from. Juan went to confession the next day, yet afterward felt empty. Next thing Juan knew he was dealing with anxiety and depression again.
For the next three weeks Juan would avoid the boy every chance he got. Because, each time the boy saw Juan he would say something about god saving his dad from deportation. Juan didn’t know what he really believed himself but he would tell the boy yes. The uncertainty really began to confuse Juan. Where was this coming from? Three weeks later Juan heard someone running down the hall of the church. It was the boy running toward Juan screaming and crying. He yelled “you said god hears my prayers and they wouldn’t take my dad”! The boy began to hit Juan and say He hated Juan and he hated god. The boy ran into a nearby room and closed the door. Before the boy could lock the door Juan came in behind him. The boy pulled out a gun and put it to his head and pulled the trigger. Juan screamed and grabbed the gun.
Moments after the first news report a correction was made: The bodies of an adult male and small boy were found clutched together in a confessional of the 2nd Ave. Catholic Church It is believed to be either a murder-suicide or a double suicide but Nobody Knew.