Xavier Guzman Wiki
Xavier Guzman Biography
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The alleged gunman, an unnamed teenager and the alleged driver, Xavier Guzmán, were charged with first-degree murder. They also face charges of attempted murder and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Melissa Ortega, whose family moved to Chicago from Mexico in August, was killed when a stray bullet shot her in the head at 2:30 p.m. m. Saturday during a shooting that targeted a 29-year-old gang member.
The shooting came as homicides in the city soared last year to 800, a number not seen since 798 were killed in 1996, while homicides rose 60 percent in two years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The suspected shooter was dropped off by a vehicle before getting out of the car, when he began shooting, ABC7 told Chicago police.
“This morning, I spoke with Melissa’s mother at her home, not only to see how she was doing during this particularly difficult time, but also to let her know that we have found the criminals responsible for taking Melissa’s life,” said Police Superintendent David Brown during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Guzmán was reportedly arrested Monday after being pulled over in a vehicle that police identified as part of the attack. Police found a concealed, loaded weapon readily accessible to him while he was driving, according to a police report.
The attacker initially escaped, but was later arrested Tuesday and remains in custody. He is scheduled to stand trial as an adult on Thursday. Police declined to comment on the existence of prior criminal records for any of the suspects.
Authorities confirmed they have increased patrols to “saturate the area” for fear of retaliatory shootings and “to aggressively address the gang conflict that caused Melissa’s death.”
Brown shared limited information with the public in an effort not to “jeopardize bringing this criminal to justice” as soon as possible.
Family representative Matt DeMateo read a statement during the news conference about forgiving the teen shooter insisting the community failed him like it failed Melissa.
‘How is it possible that we can send men to Mars but we can’t fix the gun violence in our city?’ the family questioned his statement. “As a nation, we failed Melissa.”
A 29-year-old man was also shot and is suspected of being one of the targets in the shooting.
The gang-related shooting took place in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.
“The tragic and senseless murder of 8-year-old Melissa has rocked our city,” Brown tweeted Sunday.
‘There are no words of comfort when a child’s life is cut short. There are no words that can describe the pain of a family.
“Fear and violence, guns and gangs have no place in this city, and it will take all of us working together to stop it,” Brown wrote.
Police said Ortega was walking down the street with his mother on Saturday afternoon when someone shot at a group of three gang members who were gathered on the sidewalk at the corner of 26th and Komensky.
The girl and her mother tried to run to a nearby bank, Fifth Third Bank on West 26th Street, for safety, but it was too late. Ortega had been fatally wounded in the crossfire.
Ortega, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead less than two hours later at Stroger Hospital.
Police say the 29-year-old male victim, who has not been identified, has an extensive criminal record, was the intended target.
She was shot in the back and was expected to recover, but she remains at Mount Sinai Hospital.
The shooting occurred amid a spike in homicides in Chicago. Last year was the city’s deadliest in a quarter-century, with roughly 800 homicides.
Melissa was a third-grade student at Emiliano Zapata Academy, an elementary school in the city’s heavily Mexican Little Village neighborhood, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.
A GoFundMe organized in an online effort to pay for funeral services, expected to be held in Chicago and Mexico, has already raised more than $72,000 of a goal of $20,000.
The union issued a statement deploring the senseless murder of another young student. ‘Our union mourns the loss of yet another student from one of our school communities.
“This suffering is becoming all too familiar to many of Chicago’s children and families, who are nurtured and supported by our educators every day,” spokesman Ronnie Reese said in a statement.