PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria community members are honoring a young life lost due to gun violence.
Martez Robertson, 19, was killed in a string of shootings Monday evening at a Stop N’ Save in Peoria. The Peoria County Coroner said he was shot in the upper body, suffered internal bleeding, and likely died seconds later.
More than 100 loved ones came out to the same Stop N’ Save on 800 NE Jefferson Street Wednesday evening to mourn his loss and remember his life.
Future Robertson, Martez’s stepmother, said one thing she’ll miss about him is his smile that was a rarety to see.
“When he smiled it was like a rainbow, so that’s why I really feel in my heart he’s up there and he has a permanent smile on his face because he doesn’t have to worry about a lot of things down here now,” Future said.
She said Martez was born in Peoria, but was raised in Kansas City and Texas. She said he recently returned to Peoria a few years ago.
“These last few years here, he was with his biological mother, and he was able to embrace sisters and his family here and he was so happy to be in a true engagement with the rest of his Peoria family,” she said.
Martez loved playing basketball, hanging around his family, listening to his grandmother talk and pray, and more than anything, she said he loved his two-year-old son Amari.
“Amari, his son, lost a good father, a loving father, a father that was not going to leave him,” Future said. “I don’t care what anybody says: I know he did not deserve this.”
“I know what he woke up to every day from the age of one to 16, he was my baby,” she said.
The Peoria County Coroner said Robertson is the 23rd person killed in Peoria this year.
Marlon Robertson, Martez’s father, said he doesn’t understand how this could have happened to his son. He said Martez was actually in the process of moving out of Peoria to go back to Texas.
“He’s only been back in Peoria for like a year and a half, two years at the most,” Marlon said. “So, I know he doesn’t have any problems with anybody because he wasn’t on that.”
Marlon said the world lost a special person.
“He was a beautiful kid, I called him Tez. That’s my baby,” Marlon said. “I’m going to miss him, there’s no one thing, I’m just going to miss my son. But I’m going to see him again.”
Robertson said she has a message for those responsible.
“The person who took him, I’m just going to pray for you,” Robertson said. “Whoever you are, wherever you’re at, I’m going to pray for you.”
Eric Echevarria, Peoria’s Police Chief, said several people of interest, in connection with Robertson’s murder, are in custody.