Neighbor charged with first-degree murder in shooting of 9-year-old girl in Portage Park

Michael Goodman, 43, had confronted 9-year-old Serabi Medina’s father before walking up and shooting her in her head Saturday night, neighbors said. Goodman was wounded in a struggle with the father.

SHARE Neighbor charged with first-degree murder in shooting of 9-year-old girl in Portage Park
Stuffed toys sunflowers memorial 9-year-old shot Portage Park Chicago

Two stuffed toys and sunflowers at the scene where Serabi Medina, 9, was killed in the 3500 block of North Long Avenue in Portage Park. A neighbor has been charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A man who police say intentionally shot and killed a 9-year-old girl in Portage Park on Saturday has been charged with first-degree murder.

Michael Goodman, 43, walked up to a group of people on the sidewalk across from his home in the 3500 block of North Long Avenue and shot Serabi Medina in the head, police say.

Serabi’s father tackled the man, and the gun went off during the struggle. Goodman was struck by gunfire above his left eye, according to a police report detailing the incident.

Serabi was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital a short time later, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her cause of death was a gunshot wound to her head, and the manner of death was classified as a homicide, autopsy results show.

Serabi Medina.

Serabi Medina

Provided

Police originally reported Serabi was 8, but the medical examiner’s office confirmed Monday that she was 9 years old.

Goodman was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was initially listed in critical condition.

A gun was recovered at the scene, and police arrested Goodman the night of the shooting.

Goodman’s family declined to comment when reached by a reporter. He is scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday.

Neighbors say Goodman had complained of kids being too loud before and had confronted Serabi’s father about the noise before the attack.

“Yesterday, when he came out, before he shot her, he had said something about them being too loud,” neighbor and family friend Megan Kelley said Sunday afternoon.

The noise wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, just sounds of kids playing, but Goodman was especially irritated, Kelley said.

“It just didn’t make sense. None of it made sense,” Kelley said. “Everybody in the community would just tell him they are just kids having fun playing, just let them be.”

Kelley said this is the second time in five years the family has lost someone to gun violence. Serabi’s mother was slain in 2018.

The girl’s family has started an online fundraiser to help cover funeral expenses.

“She was a beautiful little girl who adored her dog and her father more than anything,” the message with the fundraiser reads. “She was only 9 years old, she had her whole life ahead of her.”

A memorial for Serabi grew Sunday on the block. Flowers and stuffed animals placed by a tree honored Serabi, who Kelley described as an “absolutely amazing and beautiful little girl.”

“She had her whole life ahead of her,” Kelley said.

James, another neighbor who brought sunflowers and stuffed animals, described Serabi as “daddy’s little girl.”

Serabi “was always riding around out here back and forth,” said James, who asked that his last name not be used. “She didn’t deserve to go.”

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