New York

15-Year-Old Fugitive Surrenders in Stray Bullet Shooting Death of High School Junior in Yonkers

The 15-year-old suspect in Marilyn Cotto Montanez's death had been on the run for nearly two weeks

What to Know

  • Marilyn Cotto Montanez, 18, died after she was shot in the head in Yonkers last month; police say she was an innocent bystander
  • The 15-year-old suspect wanted in her shooting turned himself in to Yonkers police early Tuesday, accompanied by his mother and attorney
  • Cotto Montanez was walking to the corner store with her 9-year-old sister when she was hit by gunfire; she wanted to be a surgeon

A 15-year-old boy wanted in the shooting death of an 18-year-old Yonkers student who was caught in the crossfire turned himself in to police, accompanied by his mother and attorney, early Tuesday after nearly two weeks on the run.

The teenager, also of Yonkers, was arraigned on second-degree murder charges as a juvenile defender in the April 25 death of high school junior Marilyn Cotto Montanez, an AP student at Lincoln High School who dreamed of becoming a surgeon.

Cotto Montanez was walking to the corner store near her home with her 9-year-old sister when she was hit by gunfire, police said. Authorities said the 15-year-old suspect had allegedly stolen a gold chain from someone shortly before that, which prompted a chase. At some point, the boy allegedly pulled out a gun and fired at least one shot. That bullet hit Cotto Montanez in the head. 

Prosecutors described the teen suspect as a gang member and said other gang members helped him flee the city. He was in North Carolina with his mother as recently as Friday, prosecutors said, and accused his family of obstructing the investigation. The boy's attorney said the family was afraid to turn him in over concerns of police abuse. They haven't been charged, though according to the defense attorney, when the family brought the boy in to surrender, one police officer yelled at his mother, "We're coming for you next!"

The attorney declined to address the specifics of the allegations at the boy's hearing Tuesday, saying she wasn't going to try the case during arraignment.

Police had searched for the young suspect in multiple states and as far away as Florida. He has a juvenile record for crimes including petit larceny, robbery, weapons possession and assault. The boy is due back in court next month. 

Cotto Montanez was laid to rest last week, when she was remembered her as a "courageous" and "kind" person. Many of the mourners wore pink — Cotto Montanez' favorite color — to pay tribute to her.

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