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Shooters of Calif. dad who saved son are sought

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POSTED April 9, 2012 8:36 p.m.


 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The family of a Southern California man who died shielding his 8-year-old son from gunfire announced a $10,000 reward Monday for information leading to the arrest of the killers.

"We're looking for anyone to come forward with information," police homicide Detective Scott Collins said at a news conference.

Fredrick Martin Jr., his son and a friend were cleaning his grandmother's garage in this Los Angeles suburb on Tuesday night when they heard gunfire nearby.

Martin, 28, pushed his son to the ground and shielded him from bullets but was himself struck in the chest and abdomen, authorities said. He died in surgery that night.

His son, Fredrick "Tre" Martin III, was grazed. The boy's godfather, Joey Hickman, was shot in the ankle.

Gary Lee, a cousin of Martin, told the Los Angeles Times that after the attack, the boy told him: "My dad saved me."

Police said they believe at least two gunmen were involved, but they had no suspects and no motive for the attack.

"We don't have anything to suggest that this was gang-related," Collins said.

A family friend put up a $10,000 reward for information leading to arrests, said Micharri Pratts, Martin's half-sister.

"I'm sad, I'm angry, I'm heartbroken, I'm confused but at the same time...focused on bringing justice," she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after the news conference.

Relatives are caring for Martin's son.

"We forget that he is a child. He's only 8 years old," Pratts said. "He's taken this really hard, as expected. But as a family, we're trying to provide him with all the love and support that his father gave him."

Friends and family said Martin, a college graduate who worked as an analyst at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Pasadena, had never been involved in gangs. They said he stayed away from gangs by not wearing certain colors and avoiding certain streets.

"I just don't want Fred to be seen as a statistic because he was not a statistic," his sister said. "He wasn't your average minority male growing up in this primarily minority neighborhood. He represented everything that anyone from this neighborhood has aspired to be."

"He saw the world through rose-colored lenses. He saw the good in everyone, and he acted in a way that he felt everyone else should act," she said. "And he put his heart and his soul in everything he did and that includes, first and foremost, being a father."

 

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