Man, teen charged with murder in death of Chicago girl, 8

Jan 26, 2022, 1:54 PM | Updated: 4:37 pm

CHICAGO (AP) — A teenage boy and man have been charged with first-degree murder in last weekend’s death of an 8-year-old Chicago girl who was shot in the head as she walked hand in hand with her mother by a gunman targeting someone else on the city’s Southwest Side.

Melissa Ortega of Chicago was walking with her mother in the city’s Little Village neighborhood on Saturday afternoon when someone climbed from a car and opened fire at a 29-year-old alleged gang member who was leaving a store, Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference. The girl was pronounced dead Saturday at a hospital.

The man police believe was the intended target was shot in the back and was hospitalized.

Brown said the 16-year-old boy, whose name was not immediately released, was the shooter, and 27-year-old Xavier Guzman was the driver of the car. Both were arrested on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder, with the teen also charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Brown said the two were arrested after detectives analyzed surveillance video and license plate reader technology that allowed to track down the vehicle. He said the surveillance video showed the car pull into an alley, where the gunman got out, opened fire and jumped back in and fled the scene.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said the boy was charged as an adult because of the serious nature of the crime and that both suspects would appear in court Thursday. She said prosecutors would not detail the shooting during the hearing, and her office said the teen’s name will be released at the hearing.

Melissa , a student at Emiliano Zapata Academy, an elementary school in the city’s heavily-Mexican neighborhood, according to the Chicago Teachers Union, had just asked her mother to promise to buy her a hamburger after they went to the bank when, according to a statement the mother asked a family representative read to the media, “My daughter stopped holding my hand and without explanation I found her on the floor with a puddle of blood and a bullet to her head.”

The mother, Araceli Leanos, told of emigrating to Chicago from Mexico six months ago.

“We came in search of the American dream (that) was so famously here, but instead I get to live a nightmare the rest of my life.”

And less than a week after her daughter’s death, the mother said to the gunman, the “aggressor,” as she called him, “I forgive you. You were a victim, too… the community failed you just as it failed my precious baby.”

The shooting happened amid a spike in homicides in Chicago. Last year was the city’s deadliest in a quarter century, with roughly 800 homicides and at the press briefing, Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke of how the violence has hit communities like Little Village particularly hard.

“I’ve spoken to too many mothers in that community who have told me they’re afraid, afraid to step outside of their homes, afraid for their lives, afraid the gangs have taken over.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, talking with forme...

Associated Press

The GOP debate field was asked about Trump. But most of the stage’s attacks focused on Nikki Haley

The four Republican presidential candidates debating Wednesday night mostly targeted each other instead of Donald Trump.

3 days ago

Law enforcement officers head into the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus after reports of an ...

Associated Press

Police say 3 dead, fourth wounded and shooter also dead in University of Nevada, Las Vegas attack

Police said a suspect was found dead Wednesday as officers responded to an active shooter and reports of multiple victims at UNLV.

3 days ago

President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, leaves after a court appearance, July 26, 2023, in Wilming...

Associated Press

Republicans threaten contempt proceedings if Hunter Biden refuses to appear for deposition

House Republicans are threatening to hold Hunter Biden in contempt if he does not show up this month for a closed-door deposition.

3 days ago

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., listens to a question during a news conference, March 30, 2022, in W...

Associated Press

Tuberville is ending blockade of most military nominees, clearing way for hundreds to be approved

Sen. Tommy Tuberville announced Tuesday that he's ending his blockade of hundreds of military promotions, following heavy criticism.

4 days ago

An employee works inside the Hanwha Qcells Solar plant on Oct. 16, 2023, in Dalton, Ga. On Tuesday,...

Associated Press

US job openings fall to lowest level since March 2021 as labor market cools

U.S. employers posted 8.7 million job openings in October, the fewest since March 2021, in a sign that hiring is cooling.

4 days ago

Megyn Kelly poses at The Hollywood Reporter's 25th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Dec. 7,...

Associated Press

The fourth GOP debate will be a key moment for the young NewsNation cable network

By airing the fourth Republican presidential debate, NewsNation network will almost certainly reach the largest audience in its history.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.

Man, teen charged with murder in death of Chicago girl, 8