BACK OF THE YARDS — Martavian Emery was playing cards with his fiancee and friends Saturday when someone in the group noticed a shadow moving outside around 1 a.m.
Moments later, bullets flew through Emery's kitchen window — shattering a glass cupboard and fatally striking the young father in his chest, family said. Emery's fiancee, who is pregnant with the couple's second child, was shot in her left leg.
Emery, 21, was pronounced dead on the scene at 1:30 a.m., according to authorities, while his fiancee, 19, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition. Relatives said she and the baby are doing well.
Police offered few details on the Back of the Yards shooting. Friends and relatives are convinced it was a case of mistaken identity.
Emery was a barber and construction worker who was "well-respected" in the neighborhood, family said. He spent most days cutting hair in his ground-floor apartment, or spending time with his 1-year-old son and fiancee.
On Wednesday morning, a pool of dried blood remained on Emery's kitchen floor. Relatives had lit a tall white candle and scribbled notes to Emery around the room. His card table was overturned — a stark reminder of the chaos Saturday as people dove to the floor dodging bullets.
Emery's fiancee, who couldn't be reached for comment, hasn't been back to the couple's apartment since the shooting, family said.
"He didn't deserve this at all," said Micheal Washington, 35, Emery's brother-in-law. "He had a beautiful life. He had a beautiful wife [fiancee]. He had a beautiful son, and a baby on the way."
Neighbors and friends said they still aren't sure why the shooting occurred. Emery lived in a three-story building with multiple apartments, most of which are empty and boarded up. It's unclear who was targeting Emery's kitchen and why.
"He never sold weed, didn't sell heroin, didn't sell crack — none of that," said longtime friend Thomas Calhoun, 28.
Emery "didn't do s--- to nobody. He wasn't even the get-mad-at type. Even if you were mad at him, and you were hollering and arguing with him, he's going to look at you like you're stupid and walk off."
Friends said Emery, who had attended Tilden Career Community Academy, usually stuck close to home. He was a family man who liked playing cards and enjoyed working. He was also a sucker for Rip It energy drinks, which he'd pick up daily at a nearby gas station, Calhoun said.
"This young man had talent. We talk about [people] sitting out and getting drunk all day, just sitting out here and doing the same" stuff, Washington said. Emery "at least tried to make something of himself."
No one is in custody for the shooting.