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Suspects sought in shooting of man who died protecting his son

April 7, 2012 |  1:26 pm

Inglewood police are searching for suspects in the killing of a man who dived in front of his 8-year-old son to protect him from gunfire.

Fredrick Martin Jr., 28, was cleaning his garage Tuesday evening with his son and a friend when two assailants approached and opened fire, his family said in a statement. As he shielded the boy, Martin was struck in his abdomen and upper torso. He died later that evening.

Martin’s son, Frederick III, suffered only a minor graze wound, police said. The friend, the boy's godfather, was shot in the ankle.

Inglewood police Sgt. Dirk Dewachter said detectives were still investigating the incident, which occurred around 7 p.m. Tuesday in the 3200 block of West 109th Street.

“We don’t close homicide cases,” he said. “We work them until we can exhaust all leads. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being patient until someone who knows something comes forward.”

Martin was born July 1, 1983, in Inglewood. He graduated from Westchester High School in 2001 and later earned a degree in sociology from Texas Southern University.

In a statement posted online, the family said the birth of Martin’s son, nicknamed “Tre,” changed Martin’s life and motivated him to finish his college degree. Martin had separated from the boy’s mother but remained involved in his parenting.

“Fred dedicated himself to Tre like nothing in his life before,” the family said on a website, where it is collecting donations to defray expenses.

Inglewood police are encouraging anyone with additional information about the shooting to call homicide detectives at (310) 412-5246.


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 -- Sam Allen