Inglewood, Calif. – A 28-year-old father died this week protecting his 8-year-old son from gunfire. Along with a friend, the father and son were cleaning up the family’s garage Tuesday night when two men walked up to them and began firing. The father, Fredrick Martin, used his body as a shield to protect his son from the bullets, but Martin was struck in the abdomen and upper torso. A bullet grazed his son Tre’s leg, but he was unharmed.
“He’s not gang affiliated, never has been. He graduated from Texas Southern University,” Martin’s grandmother Darley Tankey told Los Angeles’ KABC-TV.
Martin’s Facebook page lists him as married to Amanda Martin, and a 2001 graduate of Los Angeles’ Westchester High. According to KCBS-TV, Martin worked as a sales representative for Kaiser, though he was recently laid off.
Martin’s nephew, Travis Toca, told KABC-TV’s Leo Stallworth he was confused about the entire situation.
“It’s a family cleaning out a garage,” Toca said, “Why? I don’t understand. It’s never happened right here before.”
Martin’s son told KCBS-TV’s Melissa McCarty that his father is his hero.
A ‘We Pay’ fund has been set-up online for people to contribute donations to Martin’s family. As of 12:25 pm, more than $2,000 has been raised.
Joey Hickman, Martin’s best friend and godfather to his son, was shot in the ankle. Hickman had his back turned to the gunmen when they first approached the garage.
Police have yet to uncover a motive for the shootings, and Martin’s family insists he lived a clean life and was not gang-affiliated. Lieutenant James Madia of the Inglewood Police told the Huffington Post there were several witnesses, but no family members other than 8-year-old Tre witnessed the shooting.
From Los Angeles’ KABC-TV:
Police need the public’s help finding the suspects responsible for the father’s death. Anyone with information is urged to call the Inglewood Police Tip Line at (888) 41-CRIME.