Chicago police say that a teen has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega in the Little Village neighborhood on Saturday.
A 27-year-old man 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.
According to police, Ortega 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 Ortega 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.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced that the teen suspect will be tried as an adult in the case. He faces felony counts of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, along with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
Xavier Guzman, 27, is charged with murder and attempted first-degree murder, and is accused of serving as the getaway driver in the shooting.
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.”
The teen is expected to appear in bond court Thursday.