Police now have three people in custody who, they suspect, fired bullets into a crowd of youths on Prospect Avenue on March 2, seriously injuring a 16-year-old Charlottesville High School student. One suspect is in custody at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. Another is still in New York City, where he was picked up by police in the Bronx. A third suspect, a juvenile until his 18th birthday on June 10, was recently deemed incompetent to stand trial by a Charlottesville Circuit Court judge. All three are suspected members of the Bloods, a criminal street gang.
Pee Wee Carmello Martinez, 18, is one of the suspects in a Prospect Avenue shooting that wounded a CHS student. Martinez’s kid brother, a minor, is another suspect, and a third teen is being extradited from Bronx, New York.
According to police, the shooting occurred after 18-year-old Pee Wee Carmello Martinez argued with other teens at the Downtown Recreation Center. The argument moved to Blue Ridge Commons, where Martinez and his 17-year-old younger brother, Indio Martinez, wielded a handgun and an AK-47. The AK-47 was allegedly handed to 19-year-old Javier Garcia, who was ordered to shoot. A bystander was injured in the spray of bullets. The suspects reportedly fled the scene in a green SUV.
Indio Martinez was arrested first, in Charlottesville. Martinez has a record locally: He was one of the teens indicted in an April 2006 gang beating near the Downtown Mall that caused the victim to need reconstructive facial surgery. On June 6, Judge Edward L. Hogshire denied him bond and ordered him to be transferred to a mental health facility.
The elder Martinez was picked up in March in Bronx, New York, allegedly fleeing the cops. The Martinez family moved from New York to Charlottesville a few years ago, according to police, seemingly bringing their ties to the Bloods with them.
Garcia was picked up in the Bronx last month, though he has not been extradited to Virginia. Calls to the New York City Police Department and Bronx District Attorney’s office were not returned.
Though Martinez and Garcia came from an area with a lot of gang activity, local police have been hesitant to label the teens as “Bloods.”
Charlottesville Police Captain J.E. “Chip” Harding says, “We just don’t have enough information yet. We’re not labeling him as a gang member just yet.”
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