Just 10 minutes after leaving her Berwyn home, Roxana Vera got a call from her oldest son, crying and pleading for help. He had been shot as he made his way to perform at a local establishment for his first show of the year the night of Jan. 19.
When she arrived at the scene, her 21-year-old son Edixon Veralay on the ground covered in blood. Two friends who were walking with him were also shot.
“It was like a nightmare,” Roxana Vera said in a phone interview from the hospital where her son was taken. Edixon Vera was shot in the right leg, and he has undergone four surgeries, she said.
Though she is grateful her son is alive, Roxana Vera fears for the safety of her family after receiving threats following the shooting. She is also worried because even after she expressed her concerns, Vera said, it took several days to get a call back from the detective to follow up on the case.
“They assume that just because he is a rapper he is also involved in gangs,” the mother said. “It has become so normal to walk away from shootings because police assume that all young kids are involved in that.”
Her son is not, she said.
Ray Hanania, spokesman for Cicero police, confirmed the shooting in the 5500 block of 22nd Place, in which at least two offenders wounded two males, both 21, and one female, 24. All three were struck by gunfire in the lower extremities, according to the statement.
Hanania said police are aware of the threats and are investigating.
“The police take the shooting very seriously and will continue to investigate it based on the evidence,” Hanania said.
Roxana Vera and her son say in the meantime they pray that they remain safe. The single mom of three said the shooting has changed their lives forever as she raises money to pay for the medical bills.
On Tuesday night, she finally met with the investigator on her son’s case.
“Every time I walk outside I’m in fear,” Roxana Vera said. “But I want people to know that my son is a good man and he does not deserve this.”
When she migrated to the Chicago area she ran from violence to protect her kids, she said. She first lived in Forest Park and then moved to Berwyn.
Edixon Vera, known as EdiXzon, began writing his raps at an early age, right before moving to the Chicago area from Venezuela when he was 15. It was a way for him to dream and cope with life changes. But he never thought he would share his art with the public, he said from the hospital bed.
He began sharing his raps, all in Spanish and mostly about his experiences, on social media and then slowly found others who have an appreciation for the art in his circle of friends.
Edixon Vera is a graduate of Morton East High School and paid his tuition at Morton College by working as a driver delivering food.
He said he has avoided gangs or other trouble since arriving in this country, focusing on his music and bettering his life and that of his family. “Perhaps they didn’t like my music,” he said.
“Yo vengo de un lugar bajo y Uno viene aquí a progresar,” he said. “I come from a bad place, and we come here to do better for ourselves.”
Just an hour before undergoing a fourth surgery, Edixon Vera said he is hopeful he will walk again and he is confident he will continue to write his music.