Crime

‘It doesn’t make sense’: Behind Boise mom’s home, one daughter died and one was shot 4 times

Mom remembers her daughter, killed in a shooting.

"She had a way of just brightening up the room," says Toni Dunn, describing her daughter, 19-year-old Brianna Martinez.
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"She had a way of just brightening up the room," says Toni Dunn, describing her daughter, 19-year-old Brianna Martinez.

A quiet Sunday night on the Boise Bench was shattered by screaming, and then gunfire.

As Toni Dunn ran to the back door of her Owyhee Street home to find out what was happening, her 21-year-old daughter, Natalie Martinez, and her daughter’s friend, Sonny Heidenreich, came running in — both bleeding profusely from being shot.

Dunn said she found her 19-year-old daughter, Briana Martinez, on the ground in the alley, also a victim of the shooting. She held Briana in her arms — repeatedly saying “stay with me” — while calling 911.

Dunn said she felt like she was having an out-of-body experience.

“She literally took her last breath in my arms,” Dunn said Thursday in an interview at her home. The emergency dispatcher “told me to put pressure on her wound, but she was already gone.”

Briana Martinez.jpg
Briana Martinez Submitted photo

The first reports of that shooting came into police just before midnight. Briana Martinez was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 12:25 a.m. Monday after succumbing to a single gunshot wound, the Ada County Coroner’s Office said. Her mother said she was shot in the upper center of her chest.

A funeral service is planned for Briana at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Bowman Funeral Parlor, 10254 W. Carlton Bay in Garden City. It will be open to the public.

Natalie Martinez survived the shooting and has been released from the hospital. Her mother said she was shot four times — in the arm, leg and twice in the stomach.

“It’s a miracle,” Dunn said. “It hit her liver but the surgery went really well.”

Three people were arrested Monday in connection with the shooting. Anthony Joseph Alcala, 20, was charged with second-degree murder and two felony counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon or instrument. Two Boise women, Taja Ra McMurtrey-Winn, 22, and Jessica Lee Perez, 18, were charged with felony accessory to murder.

An Ada County deputy prosecutor said at their arraignment that one of the women arrested was the ex-girlfriend of Heidenreich, the male victim. There was some sort of dispute over an exchange of property, followed by a fight and then gunfire, authorities said.

Died protecting her sister?

Dunn said she has been unable to sleep since the shooting, and she’s finding herself crying off and on all day. Her dog Jaspar, a Chihuahua mix, snuggled up next to her on the couch on Thursday as she recounted the horror of the previous weekend.

After talking with Natalie, Dunn said she believes that McMurtrey-Winn was jealous that Heidenreich was hanging out with Natalie and also wanted to get a gold necklace back from him.

Dunn said Briana got involved in the dispute when she heard and then saw her older sister in a fight with Perez and/or McMurtrey-Winn. While she was trying to pull people apart, she was shot, Dunn said.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Dunn said of her daughter’s death. “It doesn’t make any sense at all.”

She said her daughters did not know and had never seen Alcala before that night, or even heard his name. She said there were five people who fled in a vehicle after the shooting. On Monday afternoon, Boise police investigators confronted five people they believed to be connected at a house in Meridian. They cleared the house and wound up arresting three of them.

Mom’s best friend

Briana was the middle child of Dunn’s five children, and she was living with her mom and two of her siblings.

The night of the shooting, Dunn was sleeping on the couch in the front of the house with her youngest child, Lilli, who was sick. Briana was sleeping in her mom’s bed in the back of the house, Dunn said. She had told her to move over or go to her own bed a short time before the altercation occurred behind the house.

Dunn said Natalie told her that Briana came out of nowhere to help her, like a guardian angel.

The 19-year-old, who dropped out of high school in 11th grade, was working as a housekeeper at a local motel. She’d had a drug problem as a teenager but was doing well the past two or three years, her mother said.

“She was my best friend,” said Dunn, who described Briana as a very giving person who brightened people’s day.

Dunn said she’s thankful for the outpouring of support from the community, ranging from meals to gift cards. A massive memorial for Briana sprang up overnight along the front of her house. A GoFundMe account was set up to help cover funeral and medical costs for the family; more than $5,000 toward a $10,000 goal had been raised by this weekend.

“People have been great,” Dunn said. “They have been so supportive.”

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