Happening Globally

38-year-old Staten Island lawyer murdered while traveling abroad in Santiago, Chile

NEW YORK (WABC) — A Staten Island family seeks truth and justice after their son was shot and killed while traveling abroad in Chile.

Eric Garvin, 38, was shot three times in the capital city of Santiago on January 14 while taking a photograph.

“From a father’s perspective, this is the darkest day of my life and my wife’s life,” said her father, Eric D. Garvin.

The victim’s father and sister flew to Chile to meet with investigators who are reviewing previously unreleased security video of the crime.

“What they told us is that my son was innocently walking down the street, stopped for a moment, took a snapshot of a building in a drug infested area,” Garvin said. “And immediately after that, three gentlemen came across the street and grabbed my son and stole his phone and shot him three times and he died right there on the scene.”

The 38-year-old public defender graduated from high school in Maryland and moved to Staten Island a decade ago.

He lived a life of service and exploration inspired by his father, a former colonel in the US Air Force.

“When he was going to law school at the University of Maryland, he met a homeless guy named Darnel who had a growth on the side of his face, and he had no idea what that was and my son said ‘Hi, you need to get it. check, make sure it’s okay,’” Garvin said. “What he ended up finding out was that he was cancerous, if it wasn’t treated, he was going to die.”

Garvin said his son wanted to use his advocacy for those who often don’t get much attention.

Gene, as his family called him, also worked with former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office on community initiatives to reduce gun violence in areas like Brownsville, Brooklyn.

“I want people to be more like him, I want people to make space for themselves,” said his sister Naomi Garvin. “I want them to be curious about each other and experience each other’s cultures.”

Garvin’s sister, Naomi, said that Santiago is a beautiful place with beautiful people and that authorities have assisted in the investigation and hope that there will be arrests soon.

But the violence that has plagued parts of Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia is now spilling over to Santiago. Homicides in the city shot up 40% in the last six years.

There is currently no US State Department travel advisory for Chile.

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