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Judge lambasts alleged gunman’s excuses for being ‘drunk and high’ when he fired weapon, shooting 11-year-old girl

Ny’Andrea Dyer, who had her spine severed from the shooting, died several days later on March 22.

Cook County Criminal Courts, 2601 S. California Blvd.
The Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
Sun-Times file

A Cook County judge Friday called the murder of an 11-year-old girl “despicable and tragic” and lambasted the alleged gunman’s excuses for pulling the trigger.

Marcus Starkey allegedly told detectives he started firing at a customer at a Far South Side gas station on March 1 because he was drunk and high, striking Ny’Andrea Dyer as she sat in a car with her mother and siblings.

Being intoxicated is “no defense whatsoever,” Cook County Judge John F. Lyke said as 27-year-old Starkey appeared before him Friday.

Ny’Andrea, who had her spine severed from the shooting, died on March 22.

The girl’s death was “despicable and tragic all in the same breath,” Lyke said.

On the night Ny’Andrea was shot, an 18-year-old man parked at a fuel pump at the BP gas station when he noticed two people wearing masks and hoods in the parking lot, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

The teenager was filling his car with gas when the pair returned to the lot, at 150 W. 127th St.

He noticed one of the men pointing a gun. The teenager, thinking he was going to be robbed, starting walking away and tried going into the the gas station’s store. But the door was locked, Murphy said.

Then Starkey — one of the two hooded individuals — started shooting at the teenager, prompting the teenager to pull out his own gun and return fire, Murphy said. The teenager was struck several times.

One of the bullets fired by Starkey entered the rear driver’s side window of the car Ny’Andrea was sitting in, striking her face, Murphy said.

Starkey and his unidentified cohort fled, and the teenager drove to his mother’s home before he was transported to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Murphy said.

Emergency personnel were called to the gas station and Ny’Andrea was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was determined to be brain dead and taken off life support.

Following the shooting, Starkey and his accomplice allegedly ran to Starkey’s car in an alley. The car wouldn’t start, so Starkey ran away and approached two workers at a Metra facility nearby, claiming he had been robbed, Murphy said.

Starkey offered the Metra employees $600 and then $900 to drive him somewhere but they refused the offer, Murphy said. Surveillance cameras at the Metra facility “very clearly” captured Starkey’s face before he left, Murphy said.

Surveillance video at the gas station also captured the shooting, as well as the dark-colored jacket Starkey was wearing at the time, Murphy said. The jacket was later found in a tree on the route Starkey allegedly used to flee.

A .45-caliber Springfield handgun was also found on the street and matched a bullet casing recovered at the crime scene, Murphy said.

Starkey was arrested on March 18 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was returned to Cook County for first-degree murder and attempted murder charges.

Marcus Starkey
Marcus Starkey
Chicago police

Starkey first denied being involved in the shooting, but later admitted to firing first at the 18-year-old victim because he was intoxicated, although he also claimed the teenager he shot at didn’t have a gun. Starkey also allegedly said the gun he used belonged to his co-offender.

Prosecutors said the 18-year-old victim was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, but surveillance footage showed he did not take out his gun until he was fired upon first and could not have fired the bullet that struck Ny’Andrea.

The teenager’s weapon has not been recovered, prosecutors said.

Starkey, who works as a carpentry assistant, and does snow removal and landscaping jobs, “vigorously denies” the allegations and had previously participated in city anti-violence programs, an assistant public defender told Lyke.

Lyke ordered Starkey held without bail.

He is expected back in court April 22.

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