This is the sixth episode of WAVY-TV 10’s “Unsolved” series. Each month, we will investigate an unsolved murder and speak with the friends, families, and police officers working tirelessly to find answers in these killings. Our goal is to highlight the impact of violence in our communities and show that no death should ever be a statistic.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Isaiah Martin would have turned 19 years old on June 24, 2017. He was a new father with a new job and new dreams for his life.
But, Martin didn’t survive to see his 19th birthday. He never got the chance to watch his baby girl grow up. He didn’t get to work hard and succeed at his new job. He never got to see his wildest dreams fulfilled.
Instead, Martin was shot and killed the day before his birthday. Moments before the gunfire rang out, he was sitting on the front porch of his Virginia Beach home talking to his mother, Selitha Saucier. She saw a blue Dodge pull up to their Minneapolis Drive home, watched someone roll down a window, and heard the gunfire cut through the air.
“My son fell and he said, ‘Mom, I been hit,'” Selitha Saucier said. “That is just a pain that a mother should never have to experience, to see their child be murdered like that.”
The mother screamed and her older son, Deontae Saucier, ran outside to see his brother on the ground. Deontae Saucier tried to give his little brother first aid, but it was too late.
“This is the moment that I see, that I relive every day,” Deontae Saucier said.
“I had no option but to go into survival mode. I was screaming at everybody, give me alcohol, give me water, give me towels. I was standing there doing CPR. He was talking to me, and he looked me in my eyes … He just couldn’t breathe,” Deontae Saucier said.
Despite their attempts, his mother said she saw her son slipping away.
“Me and my son, we tried everything we could to save him,” Selitha Saucier said.
Selitha Saucier said her son was afraid he would be killed before he was shot. Martin had been in an ongoing feud with another person after the pair were arrested together. That person, who 10 On Your Side is not naming because they are not currently facing charges, allegedly followed and threatened Martin for about three weeks before his death. Selitha Saucier told police that person believed Martin would “snitch” on him, according to court records.
“All these messages and all these things that led up to my sons death was reported to the police,” she added. “We tried to get help from the proper authorities, and it didn’t work out in our favor.”
Selitha Saucier told police she recognized the car that was used in the drive-by shooting and saw the person her son was feuding with in it, although she could not see who fired the fatal shot.
It didn’t take long for detectives to track down witnesses to the shooting, said Virginia Beach Police Department Captain Patrick Harris. He was one of the lead investigators on the case.
“It moved very quickly that day,” Harris said. “We located vehicles involved, people involved shortly after the shooting itself.”
Those witnesses admitted to being in the car at the time of the shooting, and said they saw multiple people in possession of the gun throughout the day, court records state.
“Witnesses are the greatest thing, and they are the greatest challenge,” Harris said.
Two people, a 15-year-old and a 20-year-old, were arrested in Martin’s death, but they never went to trial. The Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office withdrew the charges, citing insufficient evidence.
“I believe the detectives identified the correct person,” Harris said. “The evidence and statements from the scene indicated that we had identified the correct person and charges were screened with the Commonwealth.
“They reviewed our evidence and approved our charges, as well; however, the Commonwealth’s Attorney nolle prossed the charges, which means it could be brought back at a later date if additional evidence or witnesses come forward that we could use to reassess whether its a prosecutable case or not.”
Selitha Saucier said the people charged in the shooting claimed self-defense because Martin was armed with a gun. The mother said her family is military and it wasn’t unusual for any of them, including Martin, to have a gun. Martin did not shoot his firearm, and his mother said he never pointed it at the car.
“We had every right to carry a weapon because we were at our house,” Selitha Saucier said. “There was nothing illegal about it.
“It’s like no one was trying to advocate for him like he was a victim,” she said.
It’s been more than five years since Martin was killed, and his family feels the loss every day. The lost time, memories and opportunities they could have shared with him, and especially the void his death left in his young daughter’s life.
“He was definitely robbed of a lot of firsts and a future with her,” his mother said.
Anyone with information about Isaiah Martin’s death can submit a tip anonymously to the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or at P3Tips.com.