A Staten Island lawyer who devoted his life to public service was shot dead while vacationing in Chile earlier this month — leaving his family struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
Eric Garvin, 38, had been missing since Jan. 14 when he was last seen in the country’s capital city of Santiago.
One week later, his family received the horrific news that their son was killed and his body was inside a hospital morgue.
“This is the darkest chapter of our lives because we are living every parent’s worst nightmare,” his father Eric D. Garvin wrote on Facebook.
The Staten Islander had been gunned down on a street after snapping a photo of a building the same day in a seemingly random attack.
He was shot three times by three to four men who also stole his phone, Eric D. Garvin told ABC 7.
“What they told us is my son was innocently walking down the street, paused for a moment, took a snapshot of a building in a drug-infested area,” he said. “And immediately following that, three gentlemen came across the street grabbed my son and stole his phone and shot him three times and he died there on the scene.”
Garvin Jr. was reportedly going out to grab dinner when he was shot.
The distraught father said his son died “doing what he loved to do, which was travel abroad.”
He estimated that he visited more than 40 countries in his lifetime — many with his sister Naomi Garvin.
“I want people to be more like him, I want people to make space for each other,” she told ABC 7. “I want them to be curious about meeting each other and experiencing each other’s cultures.”
He was set to fly to Argentina one day after he was killed to continue his travels with his friend who was also on the trip, but not with him when he was shot.
Garvin Jr. moved to Staten Island from Maryland a decade ago and graduated from law school in the state. He had worked for the City Council as well as the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, where he was employed as a senior project manager through 2021.
Under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, he worked on initiatives to combat gun violence in neighborhoods like Brownsville, ABC reported.
Multiple elected officials offered their condolences on Twitter.
“Deeply saddened to hear the news of Eric Garvin’s passing,” Staten Island Assemblyman Charles Fall tweeted. “Eric was a dear friend to me and so many in our community. My heartfelt condolences are with Margie Garvin and the entire Garvin family.”
Marjorie Garvin is the grandmother of Eric Garvin and is a well-regarded community activist for Black Staten Islanders. She has been recognized by congress for her work to increase voter registration.
His father and sister traveled to Chile on Monday to meet with investigators and US Embassy officials in Santiago. They are also arranging services to bring his body home.