After a Chicago teenager opened fire on a street corner Saturday afternoon, killing 8-year-old Melissa Ortega and injuring at least one other, he and his adult getaway driver grabbed sandwiches, prosecutors said on Thursday.
“They drove to a Subway to get Subway sandwiches,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said at a hearing. “They are seen laughing, having a good time, and then they go to a gas station to buy beverages.”
The shocking reveal came during a bond hearing for Xavier Guzman and Emilio Corripio for their alleged role in the fatal Saturday afternoon shooting in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Guzman, a 27-year-old cab driver, and 16-year-old Corripio are facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder, for the shooting that killed Ortega and injured another.
Prosecutors said Thursday that Corripio was a self-identified Latin King Gang member. Both defendants were denied bail on Thursday.
During the bond hearing, Murphy said the pair expressed an “utter disregard for human life” when they participated in the shooting that also caused bullets to hit a car where a 47-year-old man and his 9-year-old daughter hid inside. In total, four individuals were affected by the gunfire, including a 29-year-old man who was the intended target after allegedly flashing rival gang signs on the street, prosecutors said.
“One child was lost that day. It could have easily been two. That 9-year-old was almost killed as well,” Murphy stressed.
Milagros Burgos, who lost her 18-year-old daughter to gun violence in 2014, was furious on Thursday when she heard the details of the Saturday shooting that ended in Ortega’s death.
“Emilio killed an innocent child,” Burgos told The Daily Beast. “I don’t care how old you are. You have a choice in life to choose what you know is right and wrong. There are no excuses.”
The Jan. 22 incident began just after 2 p.m. when Guzman picked up Corripio at his home in his cab, according to a bond court proffer obtained by The Daily Beast. As they drove into Little Village, an area described by prosecutors as “2-6 gang territory,” they saw an individual “flashing 2-6 gang signs,” a rival of the Latin Kings. The motion prompted the pair to drive toward a nearby alley, where the teenager allegedly exited the car in a “dark jacket” and a black mask before pulling out a gun.
The teenager is then seen on video shooting the 29-year-old and an unknown individual, moving around “as he continued to shoot,” Murphy said in court. While the 29-year-old was able to run and hide in a nearby building, the prosecutor added that he was shot in the back.
Farther down the street, prosecutors say, the father and his 9-year-old daughter were inside their car waiting for the individuals flashing the 2-6 gang signs to leave. But when Corripio opened fire, “multiple bullets struck" their car, prosecutors added.
“At the same time, Melissa Ortega, an 8-year-old girl wearing a pink hat, was walking... on 26th street, holding her mother’s hand,” prosecutors detailed in the proffer. When Corripio allegedly struck the 29-year-old, Ortega “looked behind her as she and her mother were crossing" the street.
“When the shots rang out, Melissa and her mother began to jog quickly away from the gunfire when Melissa was shot in the head,” prosecutors said. “Melissa fell to the ground on the corner of Pulaski and 26th Street where she died.”
After the deadly shooting, Corripio went back to the car where Guzman was waiting and the pair drove off toward a nearby Subway, prosecutors continued. They added that the duo arrived at the fast-food shop about half an hour after the murder and were caught on camera parking the cab to order sandwiches.
“When they left Subway, they took the sandwiches with them, got back into the cab, and drove away,” prosecutors said in the proffer.
The pair allegedly proceeded to a gas station to buy drinks.
Hours later, Guzman’s cab was caught on camera at the location where the shooting occurred—and even drove past a memorial that was placed in Ortega’s honor, prosecutors said.
On Monday, a Chicago police officer stopped Guzman’s cab, where a handgun was allegedly found in the driver’s door compartment.
“That gun was recovered, and ballistic testing confirmed that the fired shell casings found at the scene of Melissa’s murder were fired from that handgun,” prosecutors said. “Also recovered from the cab was a fingerprint from the front passenger side interior door handle.”
Cell phone data recovered from Guzman’s phone allegedly showed communications between the two defendants, including a video where Guzman admitted to being at the scene of the shootings and that Corripio used his gun.
Corripio was arrested on Tuesday.
In arguing for no bail, Murphy said the teenager had committed three previous aggravated carjackings in the span of five months and was on “intensive probation” at the time of Ortega’s murder. Court records indicate that Guzman had a few drug arrests, dating back to 2017, but none of them resulted in convictions.
Assistant Cook County public defender Chris Anderson, who represented both defendants for the bond hearing, argued that the pair should be given bail. The lawyer claimed there is no evidence that Guzman—described as a high school graduate who lives with his mother—knew what was going to happen prior to the fatal incident.
Corripio, the attorney went on to argue, is an 11th-grade student who lives with his parents and plays soccer at school.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Anderson questioned why “the 29-year-old ‘victim’ was not charged with Felony Murder for Mob Action for instigating violence with gang signs that other victim(s) were trying escape from, prior to the shooting.”
“It is distressing for a 16-year-old to face an adult criminal system and very troubling that he is automatically treated as an adult in Illinois without consideration of his special circumstances,” Anderson said. “There is simply no explanation as to why shooting a gun that causes death automatically makes a child into an adult. In fact, it is usually due to immaturity that a child may misuse a firearm, not because of maturity!”
For Burgos, who has been waiting seven years for her daughter’s shooting case to be solved, the relatively swift arrests in the Ortega case offered only a hint of justice.
“The crime in the city has escalated to a number that’s unheard of,” she said. “Arresting a teenager who murdered a child is a step, but it’s just that. A step. We have a long way to go and politicians have a lot of work to do.”