NEW YORK (WABC) -- A family from Staten Island is hunting for 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 picture.
"From a father's perspective, this is the darkest day in my life and my wife's life," said his father Eric D. Garvin, who spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News on Wednesday.
The victim's father and sister flew to Chile to meet with investigators who are reviewing unreleased security video of the crime.
"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," Garvin 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."
The 38-year-old attorney by trade graduated high school in Maryland and moved to Staten Island a decade ago.
He lived a life of service and exploration inspired by his dad, a former U.S. Air Force colonel.
"When he was going to law school at University of Maryland, he met a homeless guy by the name of Darnel who had a growth growing on side of his face, and he had no idea what that was and my son said 'hye you need to go get that checked out, make sure it's OK,'" Garvin said. "What he ended up finding out was that was cancerous, if it was left untreated he was going to die."
Garvin said his son wanted to use his advocacy for those who are often not paid much attention to.
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 each other," his sister Naomi Garvin said. "I want them to be curious about meeting each other and experiencing each other's cultures."
Garvin's sister Naomi said Santiago is a beautiful place with beautiful people and authorities have been helpful in the investigation and hope there will be arrests soon.
But violence that has plagued parts of Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia is now spilling into Santiago. Homicides in the city shot up 40% in the last six years.
Currently there is not a U.S. State Department travel warning to Chile.
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