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Family of slain 15-year-old gives details of his shooting death

September 24, 2018

The friends and family of Sonny Vidales, the 15-year-old who was shot to death at home early Saturday, gathered later that night to remember the teenager — how he would play pranks on his younger sisters, or leave sodas in the freezer that would explode.

His mother, Christine Vidales, and aunt, Christina Vidales, said in interviews Sunday that Sonny was a loving and protective brother who was taken too soon, a young man with a gregarious personality and an appetite befitting his 6-foot-2-inch stature.

“My son, he had a big heart,” his mother said. “He loved his siblings.”

“He was funny,” his aunt added. “He would make you laugh no matter what the situation was, you know? He was a character.”

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San Antonio police initially said that Sonny Vidales was shot outside the home on Adolph Street on the South Side just before 2 a.m. Saturday and burst into the house afterward, but the family said he was inside and was shot through a window.

Officer Carlos Roberto Ortiz said the shooting remains under investigation but declined to give more details. No arrests have been made.

The victim’s mother said she believes her son was targeted by someone who approached his bedroom window on the side of the house. Sonny came out of his room and collapsed in front of his 3-year-old sister, she said.

Emergency medical personnel were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

“Whoever did this, they wanted to hurt him,” Christine Vidales said.

Sonny had two pitbulls, and his young siblings were often in his room with him, playing video games or hanging out. Whoever killed him was “not thinking about the safety of other people in the house,” his mother said.

She hopes the shooter — or those with information about the shooter — will come forward and do the right thing.

“I don’t have hate in my heart for whoever did this,” Christine Vidales said. “What’s dark will come to light.”

Joan Torres, the family’s next-door neighbor, said the shooting “caught everybody by surprise” in the mostly quiet neighborhood.

“This doesn’t happen here at all,” Torres said. “It has come as a shock to them because he was such a good kid.”

Sonny Vidales was not attending school and lived for his younger siblings, his family said. He had three younger brothers and two younger sisters. He had a tattoo on his arm that said “My Brother’s Keeper” for his 5-year-old brother, Jojo, who is hard of hearing and spent a lot of time with Sonny.

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Christine Vidales said after the shooting, Jojo asked her whether Sonny would keep picking him up from school.

“They’re broken by this,” she said. “The situation is devastating but I’m just grateful that my kids weren’t in the room with him.”

Sonny’s aunt remembered how Sonny would always ask visitors if they brought something to eat, and he would hover by the fridge in the kitchen.

“Last night, with all the food that everyone donated, he would have been like...” Christina Vidales said, laughing and trailing off.

“Now we’re not going to have that,” she continued. “His little sister picking on him when he comes in the house, we’re not going to hear that no more.”

Funeral arrangements are pending, family members said. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.

Dylan McGuinness covers local politics and the Bexar County government for the Express-News. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | dylan.mcguinness@express-news.net | Twitter: @DylMcGuinness

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