Judge denies bail for alleged getaway driver in 7-year-old’s murder

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CHICAGO — A judge denied bail for the alleged getaway driver charged with murder in the fatal shooting of 7-year-old Natalie Wallace Tuesday.

Reginald Merrill, 33, of South Austin faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery after Wallace was shot in the head while playing outside her great-grandmother’s home on the 1000 block of North Latrobe Saturday night.

Officials allege Merrill waited behind the wheel as three men exited from a vehicle and opened fire towards the home where Wallace’s family was having a 4th of July barbecue. She was caught in the crossfire and shot in the head.

A judge denied bail for Merrill Tuesday, and he’s due back in court on July 27.

Credits: Chicago Police Department and family of Natalie Wallace

Chief Brendan Deenihan, CPD Bureau of Detectives, said detectives used technology to identify the vehicle used in the shooting.

Merrill was taken into custody in the 1000 block of North Pine Avenue, and police say he has a prior record that includes battery, theft, possession and assault, police said. The search continues for three additional suspects accused of pulling the trigger.

“They should be turning themselves in and everyone in the community should be walking them in there,” Deenihan said.

Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip at cpdtip.com.

“I’m feeling happy and sad at the same time, because my daughter is gone,” Natalie’s mother Michelle Rogers said. “I hope they get caught and locked up and also get the penalty.”

On Sunday, family members held a news conference in hopes of getting the suspects to turn themselves in.

“I’m grateful for the effort the police moving quickly to get at least one of the offenders,” her father Nathan Wallace said. “We want you, we’re going to get you. It’s just a matter of time before you get got too.”

Natalie’s mother created a Gofundme account to help with burial expenses for the 7-year-old.

Nine children have been killed over the last three weekends in Chicago. Violence continued this past weekend, with at least 87 shot and 17 killed, including Natalie Wallace and 14-year-old Vernado Jones Jr..

Vernado was shot and killed in Englewood after a gunman opened fire into a large crowd. Seven others were shot, including two other children.

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