CHICAGO (CBS) — A third man has been charged with murder in the July 4th death of 7-year-old Natalia Wallace, who was shot and killed while playing in her grandmother’s front yard in the South Austin neighborhood.
Chicago Police said 30-year-old Terrell Boyd, of Racine, Wisconsin, was arrested Monday evening in Racine and has been extradited to Chicago. He has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery, and was ordered held without bail Tuesday afternoon.
Police and prosecutors have said Natalia was playing in her grandmother’s front yard on the 100 block of North Latrobe Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. on July 4, when four men pulled up in a white Subaru Legacy, and three passengers got out and started shooting.
The shooting was apparent retaliation for a June 29 shooting that killed one of Boyd’s brothers, prosecutors said during Boyd’s bond hearing. Police and prosecutors said the suspects are purported gang members who believed the gunman who killed Boyd’s brother lived on the same block of Latrobe as Natalia’s grandmother.
Boyd is the third man charged in the case. Davion Mitchell, 22, and Reginald Merrill, 33, both were charged in the case last month, and are being held without bond. Police have said Merrill was the getaway driver, and Mitchell and Boyd were two of three gunmen. Police are still seeking the fourth suspect in the case, who is another brother of Boyd’s and is 28 years old, according to Cook County prosecutors.
Cook County prosecutors have said Merrill was behind the wheel of a white Subaru Legacy when it pulled up on the 100 block of North Latrobe shortly after 7 p.m. on July 4, when three passengers got out of the car and started shooting.
Video showed Mitchell getting out of the front passenger-side door of the car, the man still being sought getting out the rear driver’s side door, and Boyd getting out the rear passenger-side door while Merrill stayed in the car with it running, prosecutors said.
Video also showed Mitchell dropping a disposable surgical mask on the ground as he got out of the car, prosecutors said. The mask has been recovered and is being processed for DNA.
Natalia was playing in the parkway outside her grandmother’s home with several other children at the age of 10 at the time, prosecutors said.
Natalia she was shot in the head. A Chicago Police officer gave Natalia CPR, but she did not survive. She was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. At the time she was killed, Natalia, who had had just finished the first grade at Crown Community Academy of Fine Arts Center, was visiting her grandmother for a 4th of July party.
A 32-year-old man was also wounded in the shooting, police said. He transported himself to Mount Sinai Hospital in fair condition with a gunshot wound to the ankle and a graze wound to the leg.
Merrill waited for the gunmen to get back into the car, and then fled south on Latrobe Avenue and west on Washington Boulevard, prosecutors said.
Police officers found numerous 9mm and 40-caliber spent shell casings on the street at 147-149 N. Latrobe Ave., prosecutors said.
Detectives were able to figure out the make, model, and license plate of the getaway car, which was registered to Merrill’ girlfriend, prosecutors said.
Around 9:15 p.m. that night, two hours after the shooting, Merrill was spotted driving the Subaru Legacy west on Division Street and then south on Pine Avenue, but by then he was by himself, prosecutors said.
Merrill was pulled over and arrested.
Cook County prosecutors said Boyd was subsequently identified as one of the shooters by the surviving victim. He was also caught on surveillance video, clearly shooting toward a group of children.
The surviving victim also identified Mitchell, prosecutors said.
An agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives also identified from past encounters Boyd’s brother who has not yet been apprehended, prosecutors said.
Mitchell, Boyd, and Boyd’s brother were seen in photos together posted to social media before and after the murder, and cellphone records showed messages among the men and several others in time leading up to the shooting – in which they discussed getting guns and blacking out the windows of a car, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Boyd’s brother also posted on Facebook after the murder: “Y’all though(t) you were gonna celebrate the 4th of July, huh?”
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra spoke with Natalia’s family, who were with her in her final moments.
“Kids outside playing, they shouldn’t have to worry about guns and people shooting,” said Natalia’s father, Nathan Wallace.
Shelley Fulton, who is Natalia’s great-great aunt and was like a third parent to her, rubbed her back in her final moments.
“She said, ‘Your baby’s shot!’ and I jumped the flight of stairs to come downstairs, and I found my baby laying here, and I’ll never be the same,” Fulton said. “It’s got to stop, this killing. These are innocent kids. She was only 7 years old.”
“She’d smile and always tell me, ‘I love you,’” Fulton said.