Father killed shielding son from bullets is mourned, praised
Acting Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said he hopes the public can help solve what he called a "senseless crime."
"We have no evidence to believe that he was involved in any kind of gang," Fronterotta said. "Our understanding is that this was a fine young man."
On Tuesday evening, Fredrick Martin Jr., 28, was cleaning the garage of his grandmother's Inglewood home, along with his son, Fredrick "Tre" Martin III, and the boy's godfather, Joseph Hickman. Just after 7 p.m., they heard gunfire nearby.
Martin quickly pushed the boy to the ground and huddled over him as the bullets flew by.
Martin was hit in the torso and in the abdomen. He died in surgery later that night. But his son survived, escaping with only a minor graze wound.
"He did what a father is supposed to do," Martin's half-sister, Micharri Pratts, said Saturday. "He made sure his son was always surrounded by love and support."
Inglewood police were still searching this weekend for two shooters allegedly involved in the incident, but have released few details of the investigation. Two other shootings occurred in the city that night but are not believed to be related, authorities said.
Several of Martin's friends and family members gathered at his mother's home in Inglewood on Saturday to speak about his life. They said Martin — a college graduate who worked as an analyst at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Pasadena — had never been involved in gangs.
"It appears random," said Melanie Miller, Martin's aunt. "He didn't live that type of lifestyle, didn't wear the clothes, didn't want to be part of it at all."
Jaaye Person-Lynn, a high school friend of Martin, said there had been recent problems between gangs in the neighborhood. Martin could have been targeted mistakenly, he said.
"From my knowledge … it could have been a case where they retaliated without verifying," Person-Lynn explained.
-- Sam Allen
Photo: Fredrick Martin Jr. and his 8-year-old son, Fredrick "Tre" Martin III. Credit: Family photo