- Eric E. Garvin, a 38-year-old lawyer from Staten Island, was shot and killed while on vacation in Santiago, Chile.
- Garvin, who was dedicated to public service and had worked on initiatives to combat gun violence, was reportedly on his way to dinner when he was shot by three or four men who also stole his phone.
- Despite the tragic holiday, Garvin’s father encourages others to continue exploring and experiencing different cultures, as his son had done throughout his life.
A vacation ended up being deadly for Eric E. Garvin, the young Staten Island (NYC) lawyer shot near his Airbnb in Santiago, Chile, a day before leaving that city en route to Argentina.
The 38-year-old lawyer who dedicated his life to public service had been missing since January 14, until police in the Chilean capital confirmed his identity with the help of the FBI, reported La Tercera newspaper.
His family told ABC News that three or four men shot the U.S. tourist three times and also stole his phone.
A week after his disappearance, his family in New York received the news that he had been murdered and his body was inside the morgue of a Santiago hospital.
“This is the darkest chapter of our lives because we are living every parent’s worst nightmare,” Eric D. Garvin wrote about his son on Facebook.
According to reports, Garvin Jr. was on his way to dinner when he was shot. “We were told that my son was innocently walking down the street, stopped for a moment, took a picture of a building in a drug-infested area… And immediately after that, three gentlemen crossed the street, grabbed my son and stole his phone, and shot him three times, and he died at the scene,” his father said.
The young man was scheduled to fly to Argentina a day after he was killed to continue his trip with a friend who was not with him when he was shot.
The father added that his son died “doing what he loved to do, which was to travel abroad.” He estimated that he visited more than 40 countries in his lifetime, many with his sister Naomi Garvin.
Despite the holiday tragedy, his father stated, “I want people to be more like him, I want people to make space…I want them to be curious about meeting and experiencing each other’s cultures.”
The victim’s father and sister traveled to Chile on Monday to meet with investigators and U.S. Embassy officials in Santiago and bring his body back to New York.
Garvin Jr. moved to Staten Island from Maryland a decade ago. He worked for the NYC City Council and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice as a senior project manager until 2021. Under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, he worked on initiatives to combat gun violence in neighborhoods such as Brownsville and Brooklyn.
“Deeply saddened to hear the news of Eric Garvin’s passing,” tweeted Staten Island Assemblyman Charles Fall on Monday. “Eric was a dear friend to me and many in our community. My heartfelt condolences are with Margie Garvin and the entire Garvin family.”
According to an Atlanta Black Star article, the slain attorney worked for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer called Garvin’s death a “heartbreaking tragedy.”
Marjorie Garvin, the victim’s grandmother, is a well-known community activist for black Staten Islanders. And she has been recognized by Congress for her work to increase voter registration, noted the New York Post.
In recent weeks at least two U.S. travelers have also been murdered in Mexico: José Melesio Gutiérrez Padilla in Zacatecas and Elliot Blair in Baja California.