East Harlem teen gunned down on way to deli

June 15, 2011 9:10:59 AM PDT
A teenager who was no stranger to trouble was gunned down while heading to the store in East Harlem Tuesday night.

Juan Ortero, 15, who was shot in the hand last year and had a prior arrest, was killed on East 117th Street, just steps from his home, around 9:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead at Metropolitan Hospital.

Fifteen candles now mark the spot where Ortero fell.

Ortero had spoken to his mother about 15 minutes before the incident. She arrived home shortly after and poured her heart out to Eyewitness News.

"I come home in a cab, running because the street is closed off," Jessica Montilla said. "The cab couldn't come down. I knew something happened. It's a mother's gut feeling, when they're on your street, you just think the worst. And I was praying, please, please let it be okay. Let him be upstairs. He was my baby."

A neighbor said he heard multiple shots. Ortero was on his way to the corner deli when he was approached by the gunman. He was shot and left on the sidewalk to die.

"That's his blood," Montilla said, pointing to the ground next to the memorial.

It was the second time Ortero was shot in his short life. He was wounded in the hand on November 21 outside 1330 Park Avenue in East Harlem, where he was attending a party.

He had one arrest last November for robbery, but his mother said she was trying to set him straight. She said the moved out of a troubled apartment complex so her son could be safer.

No arrests were made and police did not immediately have a motive.