Ottawa man held for armed home invasion charge

Martinez allegedly exchanged gunfire with Ottawa resident

Fernando J. Martinez

An Ottawa man was ordered held Tuesday in La Salle County Jail for allegedly breaking into a home and exchanging gunfire with an occupant.

Fernando J. Martinez, 20, was charged with home invasion, a Class X felony carrying a 20-year sentencing enhancement (range: 26-50 years) because a firearm was discharged. He also is charged with unlawful possession of weapon by a felon, a Class 2 felony carrying an extended sentence of three to 14 years.

Martinez was developed as a suspect in the break-in reported early Nov. 2 in the 1100 block of Pine Street in Ottawa. There, a resident reported at least one suspect had forced their way into the home. A second resident exchanged gunfire with one of the suspects, who fled.

The presumption is great that he was involved.”

—  Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr.

“While officers and detectives were processing the scene,” Ottawa police said in a Tuesday news release. “Grundy County Sheriff’s Office informed Ottawa PD that a subject was at the Morris Hospital with a gunshot wound to their arm.”

Martinez was found and arrested at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Columbus Street and Dayton Road in Ottawa following a short foot pursuit.

Martinez appeared Tuesday in La Salle County Circuit Court. Public Defender Ryan Hamer asked Martinez be granted pre-trial release. Hamer argued that prosecutors presented no evidence of injury to either occupant of the residence and that neither one identified Martinez as the intruder or assailant.

Investigators obtained surveillance footage in which Martinez is reportedly seen handling a gun and a video game console linked to the scene as well as discussing a break-in. Hamer said there was no proof the surveillance was connected to the home invasion in question.

However, assistant La Salle County state’s attorney Matt Kidder said Martinez presented a “real and direct threat” to the public based on his personal history and the still-emerging facts of the case.

Martinez was on parole for an aggravated battery conviction and had been granted pre-trial release in a pending automotive burglary case.

One of the victims, a woman, told Ottawa police two men entered her bedroom, placed a gun to her head and ordered her to provide the combination to a safe, which she was unable to provide.

The victim, after hearing signs of forced entry, texted her boyfriend and he later arrived armed. An exchange of gunfire followed.

Even when the boyfriend couldn’t see the intruder, Martinez was later found at Morris Hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm. Kidder said that Martinez was uncooperative and his girlfriend is accused of lying to police about the investigation.

“Your honor, I cannot think of any circumstances (of pre-trial release) that would protect the public,” Kidder said, arguing for detention.

Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. agreed, citing the proximity of the incident and Martinez seeking treatment for a gunshot wound.

“The presumption is great that he was involved,” Ryan said.

A grand jury meets next week and Martinez will appear Nov. 30 for arraignment.

The Ottawa Police Department continues to investigate this case. Anyone with information regarding this case should call the police department at 815-433-2131.