Police working on leads in drive-by shooting that killed 11-year-old honors student
Officials are calling on the public to help as multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating a shooting that killed an 11-year-old girl in Syracuse Monday.
Syracuse police say Brexialee Torres-Ortiz was walking home after buying milk at a store on Oakwood Avenue near Dr. King Elementary School when a car pulled up and someone opened fire. Police responded and performed CPR until the ambulance arrived, but Torres-Ortiz died a short time later at the hospital.
Police said she was likely caught in the shooting that they suspect was targeting 19-year-old Isael Cruz, who was nearby and suffered a gunshot to the leg.
Syracuse Police Chief Joe Cecile said Torres Ortiz's principal at Blodgett Middle School spoke highly of her, and her impact on fellow students.
“Academically, she was considered high honors in the high honors program. She was very involved in the school dance program, loved to dance. They referred to her as the hall monitor of other students, always giving them value, always making sure they had what they needed to attend their classes,” Cecile said of his conversation with the Blodgett principal.
Mayor Ben Walsh said he expects there feelings of grief, anger, and unimaginable pain among family members, classmates and the community.
“That little girl did nothing wrong. She walks down the block to get milk for her family. She did nothing wrong, and now we've lost her,” Walsh said.
Officials say the Syracuse police, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department and state police are working on leads. Chief Cecile says they're canvassing the neighborhood, reviewing SPD camera footage, and housing authority camera footage. But they're not releasing details about possible suspects, the vehicle involved, number of shots fired, or what the hospitalized 19-year-old victim might be telling detectives. Walsh said someone knows something.
“We have people in our community that know who pulled the trigger last night and know who pulled the trigger on the previous incident in the incident after that," Walsh said. "And just think if those people were willing or able to step up and share information with us in a way in which they felt safe, we could end this. We could end this crisis.”
Anonymous tips can be called in to 315-442-5222 or by using the Tip 411 app.