Suspected driver in July Fourth shooting that killed Chicago girl, 7, charged with murder, battery

Suspected driver in July Fourth shooting that killed Chicago girl, 7, charged with murder, battery
Stock photo of handcuffs. (luctheo/Pixabay.com)

CHICAGO — Chicago police have arrested one of four men believed to be involved in the shooting death of 7-year-old Natalia Wallace at a Fourth of July party, multiple media outlets reported.

Reginald Merrill, 33, of Chicago has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery after Wallace was shot in the head around 9:15 p.m. Saturday, WGN reported.

Merrill, who was ordered held without bond Tuesday, is accused of driving three gunmen to the party, where prosecutors allege the shooting was carried out in retaliation for the June 29 murder of one of the alleged gunman’s brothers, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

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According to prosecutors, Merrill is accused of driving the group of men to the holiday party on North Latrobe Avenue in a white 2016 Subaru Legacy registered to his girlfriend. He then allegedly stopped the car just past the family gathering, allowing the gunmen to exit the vehicle, fire at least 20 rounds, get back in the car and flee, the newspaper reported.

Wallace, who was playing in her grandmother’s yard with several other children under the age of 10, was struck in the head by at least one bullet. She was pronounced dead a short while later at Stroger Hospital, WGN reported.

According to the Sun-Times, a 32-year-old man was also struck in the ankle, taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in fair condition and treated for his injuries.