An 8-year-old Chicago girl died from two gunshots to the head on Saturday when a suspected gang feud erupted on the streets in the city’s Little Village neighborhood.
The little girl was identified as Melissa Ortega, who had recently moved to Chicago from Mexico with her mother, according to a GoFundMe set up to help with expenses.
Police said the Saturday afternoon shooting began when a man dressed in black stepped out of an alleyway and opened fire at another man who had just exited a store — and who was identified as a member of the Gangster Two Six street gang, WFLD reported.
The intended target ran down the street, and the suspect continued firing, a police report said. The 26-year-old man was struck in the back and was hospitalized in critical condition.
Melissa and her mother heard the gunshots and began running toward a bank, as CrimeOnline previously reported. But Melissa had been shot twice on the right side of her head.
Police and paramedics responded to a ShotSpotter alert and Melisa was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she was pronounced dead less than two hours later.
Police sources were unsure of the motive for the shooting but said the target’s gang had been feuding with the Latin Saints and Latin Kings.
Investigators found 13 shell casings, one fired bullet, and two bullet fragments on the street, according to the police report. The back window of a parked vehicle was also shot out — with another 8-year-old girl inside. She was not injured.
Neighborhood activists rallied Sunday afternoon, demanding justice for Melissa Ortega. Some had words for the suspect, still at large.
“You slept on a pillow last night … while this baby was laying on a steel table at the medical examiner’s office,” said Andrew Holmes. “You come here as a punk and you lay this little girl’s brains out on the street.”
Others urged anyone with information to bring that information forward.
“You’re not being a snitch. You’re helping,” said Elizabeth Ramirez, co-founder of Parents of Peace and Justice. “Just picture yourself standing where we’re standing. Wouldn’t you want someone to say something?”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown said there was a reward for information leading to an arrest for up to $10,000 and up to $15,000 for a conviction.
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[Featured image: Melissa Ortega/GoFundMe]