A 13-year-old boy was fatally shot in St. Louis while allegedly taking items from an unlocked car along with two other teens, police say.
Martinez Smith-Payne was confronted and shot by a 60-year-old man in an alley at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The teen was taken to a local hospital and later died.
One of the other teens, who is 14, remained at the scene and was taken into custody, the Post-Dispatch reports. The third teen fled from the scene and police are still looking for him. Neither teen has been identified.
The shooting happened in the 5900 block of Riverview Boulevard, according to the Post-Dispatch.
His family said on a GoFundMe account started to raise money that he was an “innocent bystander.” His aunt, who started the account, said the teen was “shot in his right side.” She said the bullet went through and tore his body up. He went into cardiac arrest and died at 3:35 a.m. Sunday.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Requested Charges Against the Shooter, But the Prosecutor Declined to File Them
Police sought charges against the 60-year-old man who shot Martinez Smith-Payne, but St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office declined to file any, the Post-Dispatch reports.
The man was taken into custody at the scene and later released. He has not been identified.
The case is still being reviewed by Jprosecutors.
2. The Case May Fall Under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine
Police did not say if the car the teens were taking items from belonged to the shooter. The case may fall under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine.
The state’s Castle Doctrine allows a property owner to use deadly force against a person who has intruded into his or her home or vehicle without retreating.
Missouri’s legislature passed the “Stand Your Ground” law in 2007 and expanded it last year to allow property owners to use lethal force against an invited guest.
“The shooting death of 13-year-old Martinez Smith-Payne on Riverview Boulevard is a terrible tragedy,” Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office said in a press release. “Missouri law regarding a homeowner’s right to protect himself and his property is complicated. The matter is currently under review by prosecutors in my office. We are reviewing the evidence, witness accounts and case law to ensure we are protecting the rights of both the victim and the homeowner. All individuals deserve a thoughtful review of the facts.”
Read the text of the relevant law here.
3. He Was Formerly a Student at South City Prep
Martinez Smith-Payne was a student at South City Prep in St. Louis, the school said on Facebook:
We found out this morning that one of our former students, Martinez Smith-Payne, lost his life this weekend. Martinez joined our school mid-year last year and also left the school before the end of the school year. Even though he was here for a short time, many of us invested a tremendous amount of time and energy in Martinez. This is truly horrible news and our hearts go out to Martinez and his family. We will reach out to the family today to see if there is any way we can support them during this time, and once we know more we will provide updates on this Facebook page.
It’s times like these that make me realize how much we invest in every one of our scholars and how hard it can be when the harsh realities of the world touch our community so closely.
4. Smith-Payne Had ADHD & Bipolar Disorder
Smith-Payne was reported missing in June after running away from home without his medication. Police said at the time that he had ADHD and bi-polar disorder, Fox 2 Now reported.
He was reported missing on June 11 and was found on June 17.
5. He Lost 4 Fingers While Playing With Fireworks When He Was 10
Martinez Smith-Payne lost four fingers in a fireworks accident in 2013, when he was 10, Fox 2 Now reported at the time.
His mother told the news station her son held the firework in his hand and lit it, without realizing the damage it could cause.
At the time, he was a 5th grade student at Walbridge Elementary School. He underwent multiple surgeries to repair his hand.