Pair being held in connection with fatal shooting of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega, sources say




  • In US
  • 2022-01-26 17:38:00Z
  • By Chicago Tribune
 

A man and a teenager were in custody early Wednesday in connection with the fatal shooting of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega, who was shot in the head as she walked through Little Village with her mother this past weekend, sources said.

A 16-year-old was being investigated as the possible shooter in the attack, according to sources. A 27-year-old reportedly was arrested after being stopped in a vehicle that police say was used during the attack. He was found to have a loaded, concealed weapon readily accessible as he drove, according to a police report.

No charges had been filed by late morning, and the Tribune was withholding their identities. Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office, said in an email: "We anticipate charges may be filed sometime this afternoon."

A 29-year-old man who authorities said was the intended target of the shooting - which happened in the 3900 block of West 26th Street at 2:45 p.m. Saturday - also was wounded. He had not been identified but officials said he was in fair condition after the shooting.

Melissa was a third grader at Emiliano Zapata Academy. She and her family had just moved to Chicago's Little Village neighborhood last August from her hometown of Los Sauces, in the Mexican state of Tabasco, where she is expected to be buried, according to information from a verified GoFundMe account.

As of Wednesday morning, the online fundraiser had amassed donations totaling more than $68,000 from some 1,700 contributors hoping to help the family transport Melissa back to her native Mexico for burial.

In a statement at the time, the Chicago Teachers Union lamented the shooting of another innocent child and extended its condolences to the Ortega family and all those who knew Melissa from Zapata Academy, saying it "sends its love to Melissa's family and the Zapata Academy community, and wish them peace and healing from this heartbreaking tragedy."

The union also decried the ongoing violence in the city.

"Our union mourns the loss of another student from one of our school communities. This suffering is becoming all too familiar for many of Chicago's children and families, who our educators nurture and support every day," said the statement from CTU spokesman Ronnie Reese.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police Superintendent David Brown each posted about the shooting on social media during the weekend, calling on anyone with information to come forward.

"The Chicago Police Department stands with the Little Village community in the wake of this unthinkable tragedy and won't stop working until we find justice for this precious child and her family," Brown said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Chicago Tribune's Paige Fry and Gregory Pratt contributed.

kdouglas@chicagotribune.com

rsobol@chicagotribune.com

mcrepeau@chicagotribune.com

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