2 teens charged with killing young Kannapolis father

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The Kannapolis Police Department charged two teenagers with killing a young father in a parking lot.

The 14-year-old and 16-year-old suspects are accused of shooting Isaiah Martinez on Jan. 22.

Police said they responded to Pacific Court off Rainbow Drive shortly before 1:30 p.m. At the scene, police found Martinez who was shot. He died in the parking lot.

The teens are in custody and have been charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Family and friends of the 18-year-old father said he was the protector of his family.

Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz spoke with his family and friends on Tuesday, who said for a young man, Martinez was juggling many responsibilities.

Those who knew him said Martinez was a bright and loving young man who will be missed by so many.

Joey Jordan said he knew Martinez since he was in the first grade.

“Being a dad was something that was special to him,” Jordan said. “At his age when he had his daughter, most kids would be scared. They wouldn’t step up and he never missed a beat”

Martinez also took care of his younger siblings while his mother worked.

Martinez graduated from South Rowan High School with a high GPA while playing football, friends and family members said.

“There wasn’t a teacher in the school that didn’t love him,” Jordan said. “He was just (smiling) every time you saw him. I don’t know if ever saw him not smiling for a while.”

His Aunt Tiffany Martinez remembers her nephew’s smile well.

Martinez said she has been scrolling through old pictures and videos of him. One was of him cannon-balling into the water at the beach.

“Isaiah, I love you. I love you Zay and as hard as it is, I know you are looking down on me, your mama, your siblings and definitely looking down on your daughter,” his aunt told Goetz. “We are going to love your daughter to the fullest.”

A family friend set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.

There has not been a lot of information released about the deadly shooting.

If you have any information about what happened, you are asked to call Kannapolis police.

This is a developing story, check back at wsoctv.com for updates.

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Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.