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‘I think I just shot a girl’; No bail for teen charged in gang-related fatal shooting in Back of the Yards

Edgar Martinez, 17, was charged with a felony count of first-degree murder in the June 2 slaying of 14-year-old Savanah Quintero.

Police investigate the scene were a 14-year-old girl was shot and critically wounded on the 1700 block of West 48th Street in Back of Yards, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times
Police investigate the scene were a 14-year-old girl was shot and critically wounded on the 1700 block of West 48th Street in Back of Yards, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Bail was denied Sunday for a teenage boy charged in the fatal gang-related shooting of a 14-year-old girl earlier this month on the South Side.

Edgar Martinez, 17, of West Lawn, was charged with a felony count of first-degree murder in the June 2 slaying of Savanah Quintero, according to Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors.

That evening, Quintero and her boyfriend were walking their dog to a corner store at 48th and Wood streets when Martinez and two other suspects allegedly began yelling gang slogans at them and asking about their affiliations. Quintero then yelled “f you” at them and walked into the store, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Eugene Wood.

Police sources previously told the Sun-Times Quintero’s killing was linked to an ongoing conflict between the Almighty Saints, a long-entrenched gang, and the Party People, another that’s relatively new to the area. Wood didn’t identify Martinez as a member of the Party People.

When the couple left the store, Wood said Martinez and his cohorts continued harassing them and asked whether they were members of the Almighty Saints. After Quintero told them her mother was involved with the gang, one of the suspects allegedly delivered an ominous message: “We’re Saint killers.”

Martinez then grabbed a gun from one of the others and fired two shots, striking Quintero in the back of the head, Wood said. Before jumping into an SUV and taking off, Martinez allegedly made an admission to the two others.

“I think I just shot a girl,” Wood said, quoting Martinez.

Quintero was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in critical condition. She died there three days later from multiple gunshot wounds, according to Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Wood said the shooting was captured on surveillance video, and that Martinez and the other suspects were also caught on tape hanging out on the block and entering the same store.

Investigators identified Martinez through the video footage, Wood said. Another witness identified his distinctive arm tattoo.

Martinez was arrested Saturday evening in the 3700 block of West 59th Street after he was identified as the suspected shooter, police said.

Courtney Smallwood, the public defender representing Martinez, argued that video evidence does’t show the actual shooting and said there’s no indication he’s in a gang. She further noted her client didn’t admit to the shooting and questioned the account that he did so right after the attack.

Smallwood described Martinez as a lifelong Cook County resident and high school senior who recently fell short of graduating Jane Addams High School in East Pilsen. His only past arrest was for possessing spray paint as a juvenile.

Judge Susana Ortiz granted Wood’s request to hold the juvenile without bail despite his limited criminal history, noting that the shooting was related to “gang garbage” and resulted in an alleged admission. Martinez’s next court date was set for Tuesday.