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State's attorney upgrades charges to first degree murder in shooting death of 15-year-old Romeoville girl

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 9:27 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:48 p.m. CDT
Caption
Erick Maya
Caption
(Matt Grotto - For Shaw Media)
A police officer runs through a nearby yard not far from the scene where two women were shot in the 300 block of Emery Avenue in Romeoville Thursday.
Caption
(Matt Grotto - For Shaw Media)
Police officers and members of the Will County Sheriff's Office work at the scene where two women were shot in the 300 block of Emery Avenue in Romeoville on Thursday.

ROMEOVILLE – The 23-year-old Cicero man who allegedly shot a 15-year-old girl and her mother outside their Romeoville home Thursday morning is facing first degree murder charges after the teen died from her wounds Monday.

Erick M. Maya, 23, of the 5600 block of Park Avenue, allegedly shot Briana Valle, a freshman at Romeoville High School, in the head and her 33-year-old mother in the neck while they were inside a vehicle around 7 a.m. Thursday in the 300 block of Emery Avenue, according to police.

The mother, 33, was last listed in good condition.

Maya was initially charged with two counts of attempted murder but those charges have been upgraded to two counts of first degree murder related to the shooting death of Valle, according to Chuck Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County State's Attorney's office.

Maya also faces two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, Pelkie said.

Maya pleaded not guilty to the original charges on Saturday, and his bond was set at $5 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 11, Pelkie said.

Maya had a previous dating relationship with Valle, who transferred to Romeoville High School as a freshman in October, according to police.

The family moved to Romeoville from Chicago last year “to get away from violence and crime,” a neighbor said.

“They’re nice people,” Shelie Jones said Friday standing outside her home, just steps away from the driveway where Maya allegedly opened fire.

A release from Valley View School District said students and staff were planning this week to wear blue and orange as a sign of unity and support for the Valle family.

The school will also put counseling support in place for any students who need assistance dealing with the loss.

"Please keep the Valle family in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with this truly unfortunate loss," the release said.

Neighbor Frank Dalu, 66, said Friday his son, Brian Corban, came to the mother and daughter’s aid immediately after the shooting.

“My son heard the shots and went out running and saw the mother get out of the car screaming, and he told her to hold her hand to her neck to stop the bleeding,” Dalu said. “The mother was so worried about her daughter who was still in the car.”

Jones said she heard gunshots and then someone scream when she peered out her door early Thursday morning.

“When I came outside, it was just the mother, and she was running to [her daughter’s] side of the car, and she was screaming, ‘Call 911,’” she said. “She was in shock and just hysterical. When something happens to your child, nothing in the world can stop you, but my heart was just breaking for her.”

Jones and her friend have set up a fund to help with the family’s medical expenses through GoFundMe.org, she said.

People can donate by visiting www.gofundme.com/6voqbc

“They’re going to need some help. I figured if we’re a community, let’s act like one. Everybody wants to know what happened, but instead of asking that, people should be asking how they can help,” Jones said. “They’re going to need it.”

The weapon used in the alleged shooting was initially missing but has since been found near the crime scene.

Reporters Lauren Leone-Cross and Brian Stanley contributed to this report.

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