BY MITCH DUDEK, JON SEIDEL AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN
A 14-year-old girl was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday after allegedly shooting another teenage girl in an argument over a boy, police said.
The suspect was charged as a juvenile in the death Monday afternoon of 14-year-old Endia Martin, police said.
In addition, the shooters uncle, Donnell Flora, of the 8300 block of South Buffalo, was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery, police said. A 17-year-old boy was also charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
On Monday afternoon, the 14-year-old girl pulled a gun from her waistband, authorities said, and aimed it at Endia Martin, who is the same age as the alleged shooter.
When the teen pulled the trigger, it jammed, prosecutors said during a bond hearing Tuesday for the alleged shooter.
She handed the gun to someone in the group she was with who fixed the weapon and handed it back to the girl, who then fatally shot Endia, also 14, in the back, prosecutors alleged.
Crime scene where Endia Martin was killed / Photo by Richard A. Chapman
The victim and the alleged shooter once were friends, one of Endia’s cousins said.
The tragedy was just one more argument for tighter gun laws, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday.
“What would have been, under any other circumstances, probably a fistfight between two 14-year-old girls because of an argument over a boy turned into a murder,” McCarthy said. “That’s insanity. This is madness, folks. This is madness,” he said.
The gun used in the shooting, a legal .38-caliber revolver, was kept in the owner’s car but was reported stolen April 14, McCarthy said. Police departments don’t let officers store their guns in their cars, but under the state’s concealed-carry law, individuals who are properly permitted can.
“I’m very frustrated. I’m sickened. Three 14-year-old lives were changed forever yesterday with an introduction of a gun into a fistfight,” McCarthy said.
The shooting took place about 4:30 p.m. in the 900 block of West Garfield Boulevard. A group of teenagers was standing on the sidewalk outside Endia’s cousins’ house when the altercation broke out.
Endia, of the 5300 block of South Wallace Street, died at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital 40 minutes later. Another girl was shot in the arm. The shooter fled, but was arrested minutes later.
A cousin of Endia’s who asked not to be named said Endia and the girl who shot her were old friends.
On Tuesday afternoon, the alleged shooter stood in juvenile court wearing a pink shirt, her hands cuffed behind her back.
Charged with murder, she answered the judge’s questions in a quiet, mostly inaudible voice.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Kain said the girl should remain in custody because she is charged with an “extremely horrific event” that occurred in the middle of the afternoon on a public way. The premeditation is clear, she said, because the gun malfunctioned, and she took time to get it working before firing. Kain argued the girl is a danger to the public and herself. Cook County Judge Stuart Paul Katz ordered the girl, who gave a videotaped confession, to remain in custody. The maximum penalty could be incarceration until the girl’s 21st birthday, Katz said.
According to the girl’s public defender, she lives with her mother and plays basketball for her high school. No family members of the girl appeared in court.
On Tuesday evening, a 17-year-old boy also was charged as a juvenile for his role in helping to hide the murder weapon.
Endia was a freshman at Tilden High School. The girl charged with her murder attended John Hope College Prep High School, which had extra security Tuesday. A male classmate told a Sun-Times reporter the girl had a temper problem. A female classmate said she was “cool, a chill type of person.”
Jeremy McCregg, 34, said his niece, a 16-year-old student at Hope, asked for a ride home Tuesday. “There’s been a lot of rumors about what’s going to happen. I’m not going to take any chances.”
At the site of the shooting, Endia’s friends and family, as well as classmates who never knew her, gathered for memorial Tuesday afternoon that included a balloon release, song and prayer. At one point, a group of boys thought they saw someone on a bicycle who may have played a role in the shooting and began chasing him.
Endia’s family struggled to understand how a feud that began on Facebook ended in gunfire.
Endia’s stepfather, Kent Kennedy, said she was big dreamer who wanted to visit Paris and Rome and join the Navy or go to college.
“My daughter didn’t roam the streets at night,” said Kennedy, who works a number of jobs at Central Steel and Wire. “We were too strict. We had a strict curfew. She didn’t gang-bang. She never was in trouble with police.”
Kennedy and his wife, who works as a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home, were distraught Monday night.
“Me and my wife, we work constantly, every day raising three kids. … And I hate to say it, but the good kids, the standout children who are trying to go to school and do something with their lives, they’re the ones who are actually dying in the streets. The ones who want to accomplish something in life,” he said. “It’s not a South Side thing or a West Side thing, it’s the city as a whole. It seems like you can’t walk down the street or even ride the bus any more.”
— Contributing: Stefano Esposito, Tina Sfondeles, LeeAnn Shelton