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‘My heart is broken:’ Racine mother loses 2nd son to gun violence

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Phyllis Canady

RACINE COUNTY -- A Racine mother said Wednesday, Feb. 27 charges filed against a man accused of killing her son brought some comfort, but called the death especially painful, as this mother lost her second son to gun violence.

Marcellus Martinez died Nov. 5, 2018 after he was shot while in a vehicle near Lasalle Street and High Street. He was Phyllis Canady's youngest son, and also a brother and father of four.

"It's rough on me. It's rough on his siblings, but most of all, his kids," said Phyllis Canady.

His life was cut short at the age of 32.

Marcellus Martinez

"I feel he got cheated. He was just taken away too soon," said Canady. "My heart is so weak and broken."

Gerald Smith, 37, faces one count of first degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, repeater and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, repeater. A criminal complaint noted convictions and incarcerations dating back to 1998 for crimes like battery, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, as party to a crime, obstructing and distribution of cocaine.

Gerald Smith

"It's a little relief, but I don't think it will ever ease the pain," said Canady.

According to that complaint, on Nov. 5, 2018 police responded to the area near LaSalle Street and High Street for a report of shots fired. There, they found Marcellus Martinez suffering from several gunshot wounds near the driver's side of a vehicle. He later died.

The complaint said several .40 caliber casings were found at the scene.

Marcellus Martinez

Investigators spoke with a witness, who said he was with Marcellus Martinez before the shooting. He said they pulled up to the address where the shooting happened, and after a couple minutes, he observed an individual at the driver's side window who shot multiple times into the vehicle. The witness said he "rolled out of the car onto the ground when the firing started."

Surveillance video showed the victim's vehicle pulled up at the scene, and a small SUV drove past. The SUV was parked nearby and two males got out and walked on a sidewalk. The video showed an individual walked up the driveway, and a small vehicle pulled in. The video showed a lone male suspect walked from the backyard up to the driver's side window of the victim's vehicle, and there were then multiple flashes from a gun being fired.

The complaint said multiple witnesses were interviewed and one said he saw an individual who walked into the backyard and told someone there were cameras in the area. This witness said he saw an SUV in the area that "may be involved in drug activity," and said he "kept an eye on the SUV" and noticed it had Alabama plates. It was tracked to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and investigators learned who it was leased to. Surveillance was performed on that person's home, and a male was seen unloading items and placing them into another vehicle.

Marcellus Martinez

When the SUV left the home, police attempted a traffic stop, but the vehicle did not stop -- reaching speeds of 130 miles per hour -- with the operator throwing items out of the vehicle. It eventually crashed on 43rd Street, north of Highway K. The driver, identified as Gerald Smith, was taken to the hospital for treatment. Investigators recovered a neoprene face mask, gloves, cocaine and THC from the vehicle.

The complaint said Smith admitted to shooting the victim on Nov. 5.

Markey Canady

Canady has felt this kind of pain before. Her eldest son Markey Canady was killed by gunfire in 2005.

"It's like they stabbed a knife in my chest and took my heart out twice," said Canady. "I would never wish this on another parent. Never. I just wish to God that I can kiss my kid one more time and talk to them one more time. I miss my babies. I miss my two sons."

The complaint noted Gerald Smith was convicted in federal custody in August of 2011, and in federal custody from August of 2010 through June of 2018 after he was convicted of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, and distribution of cocaine.

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