Justice for Alejandro Martinez

by | Feb 6, 2024 | News, Newspaper 4 | 0 comments

Five years after the death of Boone student Alejandro “Alex” Vargas Martinez, Deandre Florence, 23, was arrested for the murder of the 15-year-old, who was shot on his way to school December 18, 2018. 

“Losing a loved one is very painful, extremely painful,” Martinez’s aunt, Dolka Martinez said, at a recent news conference at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office of Central Operations. “Especially the way we lost Alex. They say time heals but to be honest, it does not. It’s just a patch to a broken heart. You just have to live with it.”

According to WESH 2 News, Martinez was reportedly on the phone with his mother when he was gunned down on Waldo street by Florence, 18 at the time, who was attempting to steal his cell phone. The case was under investigation for a total of five years, with Florence facing nine charges involving racketeering, robbery, and first-degree felony murder. 

Throughout the investigation Homicide Detective Brian Savelli along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office pieced together the several crimes it took to form Florence’s case. 

“Although he’s been a main suspect for years, it takes time to piece forensics, interviews and things of that nature together to come up with a good case…Robberies, commercial burglaries, stolen vehicles, things of that nature,” Savelli said.  

Former Boone principal Dusty Johns released a statement to families shortly after Martinez’s passing, “We were made aware by law enforcement that early this morning one of our students was tragically killed on the way to school. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through this extremely difficult time.”

Johns continued to offer parents aid in navigating the feelings of loss and grief they would be experiencing, “Students will have varied reactions to the death of a peer. Any reaction is normal in the grief process and I encourage you to openly discuss with your child their feelings and reactions.” 

Everyone experiences feelings of loss and grief differently, and processing those emotions can be difficult. Counselors on campus remain available to assist students. 

While nothing can truly repair Alejandro Martinez’s senseless murder,  Florence’s arrest is a small measure of justice for the Martinez family. 


  • Cali Ruiz

    Cali Ruiz is a sophomore at Boone and the editor-in-chief of Highlights Newspaper, she’s been involved in journalism programs since the 4th grade. She loves writing and surfing. She hopes to pursue journalism and write for Rolling Stone one day.



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