A suspect was charged with first-degree murder Monday night in the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old boy who was an innocent victim of gang crossfire on July 4, Chicago police said.
Natalie Wallace died from the injuries she sustained in a shooting around 7:02 pm Saturday in the 100 block of North Latrobe Avenue, near West Washington Boulevard in the Austin neighborhood.
According to police, the young woman was on a sidewalk when a light-colored vehicle stopped and an unknown number of criminals got out of the vehicle. The criminals then produced pistols and shot at the victim, hitting him in the forehead. The young woman was in the neighborhood to visit her grandmother the weekend of July 4.
At a press conference Monday night, police announced that the alleged driver of the young woman’s death had been charged with first-degree murder, however investigators were still searching for three additional suspects.
According to the chief of detectives for the Chicago Police Department, detectives Brendan Deenihan were able to trace the vehicle involved in the shooting and determine its license plate number by examining surveillance videos. Officers stopped the vehicle and arrested the driver, Reginald Merrill, 33, who was allegedly behind the wheel at the time of Wallace’s shooting death, authorities added.
The shooting is believed to have been in retaliation for a murder that occurred weeks earlier as part of ongoing gang violence, Deenihan added.
At least 17 people died and another 72 were injured in a violent holiday weekend across the city.