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Friends, Family Mourn And Demand Justice For Suraj Mahadeva, Who Was Shot And Killed This Past Weekend In Palmer Square

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Friends, family, and colleagues were asking Thursday night why a promising 26-year-old man was shot while just standing outside a Palmer Square home.

While they honored their loved one, they also demanded police find the person responsible.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, Suraj Mahadeva – whose first name means rising sun – was passionate about his Sri Lankan and Filipino heritage. The memorial for Mahadeva was held Thursday night at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., where a friend described the shooting as an execution.

"Suraj was a beautiful, brilliant person - always charismatic, effervescent, happy," said J. Saxon-Maldonado.

Saxon-Maldonado said he became fast friends with Mahadeva.

The 26-year-old Mahadeva loved to dance. He graduated from college with a degree in neuroscience and worked as a medical clinician.

Mahadeva was a strong LGBTQ advocate and a volunteer as a swim instructor.

"I want tonight to be solemn, but also joyful - because that's what he would have wanted," Saxon-Maldonado said as he spoke at the memorial service.

Heartbroken friends and family said goodbye Thursday night.

"I'm going to miss his smile and hugs," said family member named Jen. "I just hope Suraj rests in peace."

"I'm struggling to find a way to rationalize how it's possible," added Saxon-Maldonado.

According to the Chicago Police Department, Mahadeva was standing on the porch of a friend's home near the intersection of Albany and Dickens avenues in the Palmer Square neighborhood on Saturday in the middle of the night.

His friend heard the sound of gunshots, and found Mahadeva with a wound to the head. He later died at the hospital.

"If they're watching, I want them to know that we will find you - and we will get justice," Saxon-Maldonado said.

Saxon-Maldonado said part of him believes Mahadeva was the victim of a random crime — but he also thinks Mahadeva could have been targeted given the brutal nature of the shooting.

"The other the part of me feels like it doesn't feel random because of the execution-style murder," said Saxon-Maldonado "The question is who and why, and I am hopeful that we will find that answer so that the family could have some peace."

No arrests have been made in Mahadeva's murder.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe has been started, and Mahadeva's family is expected to have a memorial in the coming days in the Detroit area.

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