If there’s one thing that’s certain about teenagers, it’s that there’s always going to be drama. Just one teenager alone is going to have a hard time dealing with all of the new situations and hormones that come with age and, when you throw a bunch of them together, sparks are bound to fly.
Usually, it takes the form of arguments, teasing, bullying and the occasional fist fight. But, in some cases, things can turn out even worse than that. When two kids had one such teenage spat, it would end in one of the worst ways imaginable…
I Don’t Like Her
Niki and Jenny were a couple of girls from Chicago who didn’t like each other one bit. The two of them were 14-year-old freshmen in high school and had the unique brand of hostility for each other that you only find between teenage girls.
About A Boy
As so many problems among teenagers are, their spat was a direct result of hormones. It turned out that Niki and Jenny both had eyes for the same boy. When word made its way through the grapevine and the two found out that they shared a love interest, the vitriol began to fly…
At first, they would relay messages between their overlapping networks of friends but in just a couple of days time, the war of words migrated online. Over Facebook, the two girls publicly hurled insult after escalating insult at each other.
War Of Words
All the while, their classmates were picking sides, some throwing insults of their own, others simply egging Jenny and Niki on and relishing in the spectacle. The saying goes, “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The two girls were so worked up that they wanted to really hurt each other and agreed to bring the conflict back into the real world…
Fight Me IRL
Niki and Jenny decided to have a fight with each other to settle the conflict and agreed to meet up outside the home of one of Niki’s friends to throw down after school. Because all of this had been done publicly over Facebook, just about every one of their friends, family, and classmates knew about the whole ordeal within a couple of hours.
Among those people in the loop about the impending fight was Jenny’s uncle Donnell. Considering he’d been paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in 2010, it’s safe to say that he was no stranger to violence. When he heard his niece was going to be involved in a brawl he decided to intervene…
But Donnell’s intervention wasn’t intended to prevent the fight from happening. He wanted to put a stop to the violence, but to him, that meant his niece winning the fight as quickly and as completely as possible.
Armed And Dangerous
When Donnell got on the bus and made his way to the location of the fight, he was one of the approximately 40 people that were on Jenny’s side. There was also a considerable crowd of people on team Niki. What distinguished Donnell from all of them is that he’d brought a handgun with him…
Give Her The Gun
What happened next wasn’t exactly clear. Jenny and Niki still had plenty of insults to throw at one another before they were ready to start throwing their fists. During that time, Donnell’s handgun came into Jenny’s possession, either directly from him or through Jenny’s aunt Vandetta.
Flail To A Gunfight
Apparently, Niki had had ideas about using a weapon as well, because she came out of the house swinging a makeshift flail made from a padlock on a string. That was when Jenny raised the .38-caliber revolver and took aim…
Though Jenny was aiming at Niki, there was an entire crowd of people gathered around to watch the fight. Niki’s friend Endia was standing right by her and, as both girls saw the pistol, they turned to run back into the house.
That’s when Jenny opened fire. But, considering the 14-year-old girl had never even handled a gun before that day, she was no expert marksman. She fired 3 shots in Niki’s direction with only one shot barely finding its mark, grazing Niki on the arm. Though the other 2 shots missed her rival, one of them found another target…
Endia Martin had just made it through the door and was barely inside the house when she was struck by a bullet in the back. She fell face down on the kitchen floor and lay motionless “in a pool of blood,” Lanekia “Niki” Reynolds would later say.
Of course, when the shots rang out, there was pandemonium and confusion among the small crowd. Everyone scattered, running at top speed or ducking for cover. But when the dust settled, it was clear that Endia, a girl who wasn’t even directly involved in the dispute, was dead and Jenny had shot her…
Open And Shut
Not only were there plenty of witnesses to the shooting, there was also some cell phone footage of the incident, though it was somewhat shaky. Still, it was an open and shut case for police to bring Jenny in on charges of murder and attempted murder.
How To Handle It?
There was some debate as to whether Jenny would be tried as a minor as an adult. On the one hand, she had committed a heinous and violent act that left one person dead. But on the other hand, she was a 14-year-old girl who had an otherwise spotless record, having never had any previous trouble with the law…
Ultimately, the prosecution decided to keep Jenny in the juvenile system. We’ve used the name “Jenny” because her name was withheld from the public since she was charged as a minor. For her part, she seemed horrified by what she’d done and pleaded guilty to all the charges. She was eventually given the maximum juvenile sentence, meaning she would be in prison until she turned 21.
But there was extra blame to spare for Endia’s death. Jenny’s uncle Donnell Flora was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, and aggravated battery charges for bringing the murder weapon to Jenny. The paraplegic man didn’t get any of the mercy afforded to his niece and was sentenced to 100 years in prison…
The Aunt Too
Jenny’s aunt Vandetta Redwood was also arrested for involvement in the incident. The prosecution said she’d taken the gun from Jenny and cleared a jam before handing it back to her and telling her “shoot that b****.” But that exchange wasn’t caught on video and there were so many conflicting accounts from witnesses that she was acquitted.
It seemed that the unfortunate madness of that day was a one-time affliction for Jenny. An honors student before that day, she was a model inmate since her incarceration, earning her high school diploma as a valedictorian and becoming a “Resident Ambassador” — a select group of detainee role models. But none of that will bring back the life of Endia Martin or put an end to the terrible gun violence our country suffers.