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Slain Teen Activist Caleb Reed Was Mistakenly Shot By Friend Aiming At Car, Prosecutors Say

Reed, a youth organizer who was active in the movement to remove police from Chicago Public Schools, was fatally shot July 31. Genove Martin, 18, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Caleb Reed.
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WEST RIDGE — When youth activist Caleb Reed was killed earlier this summer, authorities initially said someone from a passing car fired the fatal shot.

Now police and prosecutors allege the 17-year-old mistakenly was shot by one of his own friends who was with him that day.

Reed was killed around 1 p.m. July 31 in the 1900 block of West Granville Avenue near Emmerson Park in the West Ridge neighborhood. Genove Martin, 18, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in connection with Reed’s death.

Martin, of the Grand Crossing neighborhood, was arrested Sunday and ordered held on $300,000 bond Tuesday.

Cook County prosecutors said surveillance video showed Martin and Reed walking with two other friends on Granville Avenue when a gray hatchback Malibu appears on the block and drives slowly towards them.

The Malibu stopped in the street and Martin began raising his left hand in the air as he was looking at the stopped car, prosecutors said.

Martin then pulled a handgun out of his pants pocket, aimed it at the Malibu and began shooting, with Reed and the other two friends in the line of fire, prosecutors said.

Reed and the other two friends ran towards Martin, prosecutors said, and one of the shots struck Reed in the forehead. Someone in the Malibu returned fire, prosecutors said, but only after Reed already was hit and fell to the ground.

Reed was taken to St. Francis Hospital where he later was pronounced dead.

Reed would have started his senior year at Mather High School in West Rogers Park this fall. Family and friends memorialized him in front of the school Aug. 4.

He was also an organizer with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, which is part of the city’s youth-led movement to remove police from Chicago Public Schools.

“The amount of pain in losing our beloved Caleb Reed is unimaginable,” group leaders said in a statement. “He fearlessly fought to end the cycle of violence. But what Caleb fought for was not just to end violence. He was also working tirelessly to get help for young people who need to heal from the trauma they experience as a result of that violence.”

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