8th Grader Wanted In Shooting That Killed Teen Who Died Protecting Her Little Sister, Cops Say

Police say 15-year-old Jamir Thompson fired shots at a rival at a Yonkers intersection, but instead struck and killed 18-year-old Marilyn Cotto Mantanez as she walked with her 9-year-old sister.

By Dorian Geiger

Police say it all happened over a gold chain.

Investigators in Yonkers, New York say 15-year-old Jamir Thompson pulled out a nine-millimeter pistol and fired a round at a group of rival teens, one of whom he'd robbed a gold chain from earlier that day. 

But a stray bullet struck and killed 18-year-old Marilyn Cotto Mantanez, a bystander and “unintended target,” according to a Yonkers Police Department press release.

Mantanez, who was reportedly walking down the street with her 9-year-old sister, was hit when in the head when she pushed her younger sibling out of the way as the dispute unfolded and shots rang out on the corner of Lake Avenue and Morningside Avenue in Yonkers.

Marilyn Cotto Montanez

Since the shooting, detectives say Thompson, who has a “violent criminal history,” and alleged gang ties, has gone into hiding and possibly fled the greater New York City metropolitan area. Thompson, who police say was identified as the shooter through surveillance footage and eyewitness interviews, is now wanted for second-degree murder. He’s in eighth grade. Police declined to provide specifics on any of Thompson’s past crimes because of his age.

#YonkersPD LIVE Press Conference - homicide investigation progress

Posted by Yonkers Police Department on Monday, April 29, 2019

During a press conference Monday, Yonkers police commissioner Charles Gardner, who called the shooting a “reckless act of gun violence,” directly appealed to the 15-year-old alleged shooter in his prepared statement.

“If Jamir Thompson is watching, I have a message for you,” Gardner said. “We are considering you armed and dangerous. We are out looking for you as we speak. And for the safety of everyone, I urge you to turn yourself in.”

Police said Thompson is a student at Linden Hill School in Hawthorne, New York. The school did not respond to voicemails left by Oxygen.com.

“We will not rest until Jamir Thompson answers for his reckless and despicable conduct,” Gardner added.

Thompson’s family are not cooperating with investigators, according to police. 

Jamir Thompson

The shooting has startled — and enraged — many in New York’s fourth largest city. 

“How does a 15 year old get to this point in life?” asked Lilliana Lasorsa in the comments section of the Yonkers police press release on Facebook. “He’s still a baby... where are the parents?”

“Children shooting children,” commented Mary Grace Luke-Stefanchik. “This is what we’ve come to.”

Police, who are offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the 15-year-old’s arrest, also warned the public against hiding Thompson.

"This poor girl goes to the store and never comes home—it’s sad,” another Yonkers resident told local television station News 12 Westchester

Meanwhile, friends of Montanez, and other Yonkers-area residents expressed their grief over the 18-year-old's sudden death on social media using the hashtag #justiceformarilyn.

"I’m so sorry this happened you baby," wrote one Twitter user. "Kindest person EVER, so innocent. Always smiling and laughing every time I saw her, she never failed to make me smile. Such a great person."

“I don't barely know you but I know you've been friends with my middle school friends,” posted Alex Rivas on Facebook. “They're really gonna miss you. I'm very sorry this happened to you wherever you are. You will be truly missed.”

Montanez’s Facebook page said she attended Lincoln High School in Yonkers.

Yonkers police are encouraging anyone with information as to Thompson’s whereabouts to contact them at (914) 377-7725.

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