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Chicago police follow ‘strong leads’ in ‘unspeakable’ slaying of 8-year-old on street

The child, Melissa Ortega, was not the intended target, but she was killed when “known offenders” shot at a man leaving a store Saturday, police said.
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Chicago police say they have strong leads into the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl who was struck by gunfire directed at another man who was leaving a store Saturday.

The child, Melissa Ortega, was shot in the head as she walked with her guardian around 2:45 p.m. Saturday in the Little Village neighborhood, police said.

“It’s just unspeakable,” Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown said at a news conference Monday, vowing to hold those responsible accountable.

The shooting happened as “known offenders” fired shots at a 26-year-old man as he left a store, hitting him in the lower back, police said.

Melissa was struck by one of those rounds, police have said. Neither she nor her guardian was the target.

Brown, who said the investigation was “very delicate right now,” declined to verify what evidence police have.

“We do have people cooperating with us right now, and we do have very strong leads,” he said.

Police continued to ask for tips and said a $15,000 reward is being offered for any that lead to an arrest or a conviction.

Melissa immigrated with her mother to the U.S. from Mexico six months ago, and three months ago they went to Chicago to be closer to family, the family said in a statement.

“No mother should have to lose their child in broad daylight. No mother should have to bury her 8-year-old child,” the family said in the statement.