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Raleigh School Mourns Loss of Slain Classmate

Posted May 2, 2007

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— As authorities investigate the shooting death of a 13-year-old girl, her classmates are trying to deal with the sudden loss of one of their friends.

Crime scene investigators are trying to piece together what happened inside a first-floor unit at Remington on the Green Apartments at 4401 Green Road. When police arrived on the scene Tuesday evening, officers found Gelnirys Ortega shot to death and her mother, Maligros, suffering from a gunshot wound.

Gelnirys Ortega was a seventh grader at West Millbrook Middle School. Christopher Almonza was one of her friends.

"We go to the same school. We rode the bus together," he said.

The sadness also extends to the teachers and students at West Millbrook Middle School. Counselors are on campus to help students cope with the situation.

"They don't understand she was here yesterday, joking with her friends, going through the yearbook, making plans for the future and then she's not here today," said teacher Christine Ritterpusch.

Ritterpusch was Gelnirys' language arts teacher. She described her as a wonderful student, smart with an infectious laugh no one will soon forget. She said Gelniys was one of those students that as a teacher, you're happy you had her in your class.

Raleigh police are keeping a tight lid on the specifics surrounding the shooting at this point.

"We are still not at a point in the investigation where we can discuss specifics, but it can be said that the investigation has determined that the cases did not stem from random contact with strangers," said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue.

For residents living in the apartment complex, the crime scene tape now lining part of the landscape is unsettling.

"I've been living here eight years and I have never seen anything like this -- never. We don't have problems like this. It's just one of those things," said neighbor Carlton Sanders.

Milagros Ortega was transported to WakeMed for treatment. There was no word on her condition early Wednesday.


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  • FITV May 3, 2007

    Sorrow, death and sadness knows no race, nationality or gender. Everyone will face it at least once. My heart and prayers go out to the family, along with prayers of recovery for the mother. I am sure losing her daughter is far worse than the pain from the shooting. God bless and restore you.

  • mslisac363 May 3, 2007

    It not chasing anyone down, but it's good for the mother to have support and to hear people speak highly of her child from school as there were comments yesterday with concerns about if they were legal. Humans are humans and when something like this happens and you don't have something good to say don't put your fingers on the keyboard. Just move on to something else. Love to a mother from a mother.

  • LADY1 May 3, 2007

    I hope that the persons involve with the shooting will get what's coming to them!

  • .45 May 3, 2007

    Four comments so far and none of the trolls have mentioned their ethnicity? Shocking!
    Oh, I guess I just did?

  • spamthissucka May 2, 2007

    Thanks for chasing her classmates down and shoving a mic at them.

  • Tired Of Excuses May 2, 2007

    The person who did this is still at large and WRAL just annnounced where the Mother is being treated. Not a wise thing to do WRAL, this woman needs to be protected and you are not helping by reporting something that none of us really need to know.
    A very tragic thing to have to happen to this child, her family and all that know them.

  • ncbaby67 May 2, 2007

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends.

  • anneonymousone May 2, 2007

    This is so sad for all the survivors. Kids this age are just starting to understand the implications of mortality, the shootings at Virginia Tech have horrified so many, and now the reality of loss hits close to home.

    May they and their families, teachers, and counselors be comforted.