Prospect shooting suspects in custody

Prospect shooting suspects in custody

Police have arrested three suspects in a March 2 shooting that seriously wounded a Charlottesville High School student. One suspect, Pee Wee Carmello Martinez, was apprehended in Bronx, New York, apparently fleeing police. His younger brother, a 17-year-old, has a violent history of crime in Charlottesville and is in custody. A 16-year-old is also in custody. Names are withheld due to their status as minors.

The recent shooting happened after Martinez and other teens argued at the Downtown recreation center. The argument moved to Blue Ridge Commons on Prospect Avenue. Martinez wielded a handgun and the 17-year-old had an AK-47, which he handed to another 16-year-old suspect, who then started shooting. The victim was a bystander who was not involved in the argument. The teens reportedly fled the scene in a green SUV.

Eighteen-year-old Pee Wee Carmello Martinez and other teens are charged in a Prospect Avenue shooting incident that wounded a Charlottesville High School student.

Martinez and his brother moved to Charlottesville from New York City several years ago, says Charlottesville Police Captain J.E. “Chip” Harding. The teens purport to be members of the “Bloods.”

Harding also says the 17-year-old has a violent record, and perhaps shouldn’t have been let on the streets. He was one of the suspects charged in an April 2006 beating near the Downtown Mall that broke bones in another teen victim’s face. The 17-year-old was released when a juvenile court judge deemed him unfit to stand trial. (The 17-year-old has been indicted in Circuit Court for robbery and assault in the beating.)

It wasn’t the first time the teen had been deemed unfit for trial and “uncommittable” within the state’s justice system.

Harding thinks the teen’s situation constitutes a possible loophole. “Does something need to be fixed here? Is there a process where you can get the juvenile to some type of mental health placement?”

Martinez will be transported from New York back to Charlottesville, where he faces charges of conspiracy to commit malicious wounding, use of a firearm in a felony and participating in a criminal street gang. The 17-year-old faces the same charges and may be tried as an adult.

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