2 Suspects in Shooting Death of 8-Year-Old Bystander in Chicago Ordered Held Without Bond

Two men are being held without bond for charges related to the shooting death of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega in Chicago on Saturday, authorities said.

Ortega and her mother, Araceli Leanos, were walking in the Little Village neighborhood on the southwest side of the city when she was shot and killed by a stray bullet. Prosecutors allege that Emilio Corripio, a 16-year-old self-described member of the Latin Kings gang, was aiming to shoot men flashing gang signs connected to the rival Two-Six gang, the Chicago Tribune reported, when he shot Ortega.

The Associated Press added that the man police believe to be the intended target was also shot in the back and had to be hospitalized.

Leanos said in a statement released by a family representative on Wednesday that she had been running errands with Ortega, but then, "My daughter stopped holding my hand and without explanation I found her on the floor with a puddle of blood and a bullet to her head," the AP reported.

After the shooting, Corripio and 27-year-old Xavier Guzman, a cab driver, allegedly fled the scene. In the AP report, prosecutors said detectives were able to find the two men after utilizing surveillance footage and license plate readers to track down Guzman's cab, which had a "visually distinct" logo, the cab's name and a phone number on it.

Both men have been charged with murder, attempted murder and gun possession, with Corripio being tried as an adult in the shooting, the Tribune reported.

Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy said in the Tribune that the teen had already been on juvenile probation after pleading guilty to two carjackings and possession of a stolen vehicle. Murphy added that once the two men drove off, surveillance video showed they stopped to buy sandwiches.

"After shooting that little girl in the head, what do they do?" Murphy was quoted by the Tribune. "They drive to a Subway to get Subway sandwiches. On the video, they don't have a care in the world, they're laughing, they're eating their sandwiches."

In a statement read at a Wednesday news conference, Leanos told her daughter's alleged killer that while she hopes the many years he spends in prison is a time for him to reflect on what he'd done, she forgives him, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

"You were a victim, too," she was quoted by the Sun-Times. "As a 16-year-old, the community failed you, just like it failed my precious baby."

A GoFundMe page to raise funeral funds for the 8-year-old girl has raised over $85,000 as of Thursday. According to the site, Ortega will be buried in her hometown of Los Sauces, Tabasco, Zacatecas, Mexico.

Chicago, Melissa Ortega, memorial
Two men have been arrested in connection to the shooting death of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega. Above, a stuffed teddy bear hangs from a light pole while Karla Chavez, of the social activist group Chiactivists, puts up a sign at a memorial for Ortega in Chicago on January 24. Photo by Paul Beaty/AFP via Getty Images