Two suspects, including a 16-year-old alleged shooter, charged in connection with the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood were ordered held without bail Thursday.
The pair, who appeared virtually for a bond hearing Thursday, were both charged in connection with the gang-related shooting that left 8-year-old Melissa Ortega dead over the weekend.
Chicago police said the teen, who they allege was the gunman who fired the shots that struck Melissa as she walked with her mother, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, along with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced that the teen suspect will be tried as an adult in the case.
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A 27-year-old man, Xavier Guzman, was also arrested in connection with the case, with police alleging that he served as the getaway driver in a shooting that had targeted rival gang members.
In court Thursday, prosecutors said 16-year-old Emilio Carripio had been arrested three times prior to the shooting for alleged carjackings, two of which he pleaded guilty to. He was on parole at the time of the shooting, prosecutors said.
A public defender argued in court that one of the victims in the shooting was "instigating mob action" by "threatening people with gang signs." He told the judge that victim should instead be held accountable for the murder.
Both Carripio and Guzman were ultimately ordered held without bail.
According to police, Melissa and her mother were walking in the 4000 block of West 26th Street at approximately 2:45 p.m. when a vehicle pulled up near the location. An assailant got out of the vehicle and began firing shots at a group of what police described as three rival gang members.
A 26-year-old man, one of the intended targets in the shooting, was struck, according to police, but another bullet struck Melissa in the head, killing her.
After announcing that the department had “very strong leads,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced Wednesday that the teen and the getaway driver had both been taken into custody.
The teen was identified by police as the individual who pulled the trigger during the shooting. He then fled the scene and got back into a vehicle, which sped away, but not before being seen by license-plate readers and surveillance footage.
Guzman was taken into custody Monday after investigators pulled over the vehicle that they believed was used in the shooting. That vehicle was identified through license plate readers, pod cameras and private surveillance cameras, according to Brown.
The gun used in the shooting was found in the vehicle along with him, according to police.
“Melissa was a precious little girl,” Brown said. “And it is unacceptable that she is the latest Chicagoan to fall victim to senseless gun violence in this city. We mourn her loss because no child, and no parent, should have to endure something like this.”