Prose­cu­tors say teen ac­tivist killed in July was ac­ci­den­tally shot by friend fir­ing at car

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY MATTHEW HEN­DRICK­SON,

A teenage ac­tivist was ac­ci­den­tally shot to death by his friend who was al­legedly fir­ing his gun at a ve­hi­cle in West Rogers Park ear­lier this sum­mer.

Gen­ove Martin was shoot­ing at a gray Chevro­let Mal­ibu in the 1900 block of West Granville Av­enue when he fired “a fi­nal shot” that struck 17-year-old Caleb Reed in the fore­head shortly be­fore 1 p.m. on July 31, Cook County prose­cu­tors said Tues­day.

Reed, a mem­ber of the anti-vi­o­lence group Good Kids Mad City and a stu­dent leader for VOYCE, a group op­posed to Chicago po­lice of­fi­cers pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity in city schools, died two days later at St. Fran­cis Hospi­tal in Evanston.

Weeks be­fore his death, Reed spoke pub­licly about his ex­pe­ri­ence with po­lice in schools be­fore the Chicago Pub­lic Schools Board voted on a $33 mil­lion con­tract with the Chicago Po­lice De­part­ment.

“The amount of pain in los­ing our beloved Caleb Reed is unimag­in­able. He fear­lessly fought to end the cy­cle of vi­o­lence. But what Caleb fought for was not just to end vi­o­lence. He was also work­ing tire­lessly to get help for young peo­ple who need to heal from the trauma they ex­pe­ri­ence as a re­sult of that vi­o­lence,” VOYCE of­fi­cials said in a state­ment Tues­day. “What hap­pened to Caleb is not a unique sit­u­a­tion. The tragic ac­tion that led to Caleb’s death is un­de­ni­ably a call to in­vest in Black Lives.”

Judge John F. Lyke also called the shoot­ing “a tragedy on so many lev­els” and de­scribed the ac­cu­sa­tions against 18-year-old Martin “se­ri­ous” be­fore or­der­ing the teenager held on $300,000 bail.

“He was on his way to col­lege ... if he made it there it could have changed his life,” the judge said of Martin, who had planned to start col­lege in the fall, ac­cord­ing to an as­sis­tant pub­lic de­fender.

While Martin has been charged with first­de­gree mur­der, Lyke was skep­ti­cal whether prose­cu­tors could ob­tain a con­vic­tion on that charge based on ev­i­dence they pre­sented at Tues­day’s bond hear­ing.

The judge ad­mon­ished Martin for en­gag­ing in a “gun bat­tle in broad day­light in the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon.”

“Try­ing to shoot at this other car, he shoots his own friend in the fore­head,” the judge said.

“I typ­i­cally don’t get young men like this, charged with this type of of­fense. I’m just stunned.”

Sur­veil­lance video be­fore the shoot­ing shows Martin, Reed and two of their friends walk­ing on Granville Av­enue when the Mal­ibu drives slowly past them be­fore stop­ping about two houses away, prose­cu­tors said.

The footage then shows the group watch­ing the ve­hi­cle closely be­fore Martin al­legedly pulls out a hand­gun and fires at the ve­hi­cle. Reed and the two oth­ers are seen duck­ing and run­ning to­ward Martin, who also starts run­ning while fir­ing a fi­nal time over his shoul­der, As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney James Mur­phy said.

“He turns his shoul­ders and kind of fires right over his shoul­der with both hands,” Mur­phy said. “That bul­let that de­fen­dant Martin fires from his hand­gun hits vic­tim Reed di­rectly in the fore­head caus­ing him to fall straight to the ground.”

At least one per­son in the Mal­ibu re­turned fire, but the gun­shots did not come un­til af­ter Reed was struck by a bul­let fired by Martin’s weapon, Mur­phy said. “Reed is al­ready fall­ing to the ground when re­turn fire is seen on the video,” the pros­e­cu­tor told Lyke.

Three .40-cal­iber shell cas­ings were re­cov­ered from the scene, but the weapon has not been re­cov­ered, prose­cu­tors said.

Af­ter Reed was shot, Martin in­quired on so­cial media if his friend was “get­ting bet­ter” and where he had been shot in the head, prose­cu­tors said.

Martin at­tended Reed’s fu­neral and a memo­rial bal­loon release for the slain teenager, prose­cu­tors said.

Af­ter Martin was taken into cus­tody Sun­day, he al­legedly iden­ti­fied him­self in a still im­age taken from the sur­veil­lance footage but claimed he did not have a gun, main­tain­ing some­one in the Mal­ibu shot Reed.

“When the detectives showed him the por­tion of the video that showed him shoot­ing vic­tim Reed in the fore­head, de­fen­dant Martin had no re­sponse,” Mur­phy said.

Martin, who has no pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal back­ground, could face a life sen­tence if con­victed, prose­cu­tors said.

Martin grad­u­ated from high school this year and was in­volved with sports, band and com­mu­nity ser­vice ac­tiv­i­ties un­til he was in­jured in a shoot­ing in Novem­ber, the as­sis­tant pub­lic de­fender said.

If Martin is able to post bond, he will be mon­i­tored by the court’s pre­trial ser­vices de­part­ment, Lyke said.

Martin is ex­pected back in court Sept. 21.

PAT NABONG/SUN-TIMES FILE

The fam­ily of Caleb Reed, an ac­tivist who was fa­tally shot in West Rogers Park on July 31, hold bal­loons and an illustrati­on of Reed dur­ing a press con­fer­ence out­side Mather High School on Aug. 4. The 17-year-old ad­vo­cated for the re­moval of po­lice in Chicago Pub­lic Schools.

Gen­ove Martin CHICAGO PO­LICE

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