PORTAGE PARK — A man accused of killing his 9-year-old neighbor followed the girl to her front door and intentionally shot her as her dad rushed to intervene, prosecutors said.
Michael Goodman, 43, of the 3500 block of North Long Avenue, was charged Monday with one felony count of first-degree murder in the Saturday night killing of Serabi Medina, who lived with her family across the street.
Goodman, who was shot during a struggle with Serabi’s dad after the killing, appeared in Cook County bond court Tuesday, wearing green shorts, a black T-shirt and yellow socks. His left eye was badly injured, and his long hair covered his face as he silently stood in front of the judge.
The shooting happened around 9:20 p.m. Saturday, prosecutors said.
Serabi and her 52-year-old father were outside their home with three friends that night, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord said.
As Serabi was riding around on her scooter, one of her father’s friends gave her money for a nearby ice cream truck. She brought back two treats, giving one to her father, prosecutors said.
A few moments later, the group heard a gunshot in the area and Serabi’s father told the girl to go inside their house with her scooter, McCord said.
As Serabi was heading back to her apartment building, Goodman came out of his building holding a gun, McCord said.
The friends in the car and Serabi’s father saw Goodman walking across the street toward Serabi, and the father shouted at him to ask what he was doing, McCord said. Goodman ignored the father and followed Serabi to the vestibule of her building, McCord said.
Serabi’s father ran toward her, at which point Goodman raised the gun, pointed it at Serabi and shot her in her head, McCord said.
The father tackled Goodman in the vestibule and the gun went off as they they both fell to the ground, hitting Goodman in the eye, prosecutors said.
Serabi was rushed to the hospital, where she died a short time later, authorities said. Police arrested Goodman and took him to a local hospital, McCord said.
Prosecutors did not discuss a motive for the attack, but neighbors previously told local media that Goodman had complained about Serabi being loud before shooting her and complained about other children being loud in the past.
“Just little kids playing, he would come out just yelling about the noise. It just didn’t make sense, none of it made sense,” neighbor and family friend Megan Kelley told the Sun-Times. “Everybody in the community would just tell him they are just kids having fun playing, just let them be.”
Blood could still be seen on the stoop Monday afternoon.
A 9mm Canik firearm was recovered from the scene, prosecutors said.
Detectives later searched Goodman’s apartment and found a gunshot casing stuck in the wall, an ammunition box and a receipt inside a gun box for the firearm with his name on it, which matched the gun recovered from the incident, prosecutors said.
Three bullet casings were found at the scene, which matches the amount of gunshots fired from the gun, prosecutors said.
Goodman has a FOID card, which was also found inside his home.
Rocio Armendariz, Goodman’s attorney, said he has no criminal background and has worked as a computer programmer for the past 20 years. He is from the suburbs, has lived in Chicago since 2009, and graduated from Glenbrook North High School.
Judge Kelly Marie McCarthy ordered Goodman held with no bail and he can’t have contact with any of the witnesses. Goodman is due in court next Aug. 23.
Goodman was a stranger to Serabi’s father, according to prosecutors and Andrew Holmes, a community activist working with the family.
Holmes said Serabi’s mother previously was shot and killed, and the father was raising Serabi on his own after his wife died. Kelley told the Sun-Times that Serabi’s mother was fatally shot in Austin in 2018.
“The father is going through an emotional moment,” Holmes previously told Block Club.
A GoFundMe was launched to help Serabi’s family with funeral and other expenses. About $6,200 was raised as of Tuesday afternoon.
“She was only 9 years old, she had her whole life ahead of her,” the family wrote on the fundraiser. “We thank everything for all the [outpouring] of love and support we have received over the last few days. This has been a hard time for my family but we are leaning on each other for strength.”
Serabi attended Reinberg Public School close by, Holmes said. He plans to work with the school to offer grief counseling to Serabi’s classmates.
“It’s a child and it hurts … [the father] is in pain. He needs a lot of healing,” Holmes said.
A memorial outside the family’s home has grown since the shooting, with friends and neighbors stopping to add candles, flowers and signs to remember Serabi and express their shock at the tragedy.