A 12-year-old Ohio boy helping his dad at a family business died Friday when gunfire erupted nearby, the Washington Post reports.
Unidentified suspects allegedly fired on a group of teenagers who had congregated outside a liquor store around 7:30 p.m.
The boy and his father, who owns a beauty supply store next door, reportedly went outside to see what was happening.
That’s when a suspect allegedly shot the boy, Abdel Bashiti, in the torso. Officers who arrived at the scene found the boy unresponsive, and he was later pronounced dead.
Family members described Abdel as a happy kid, who did well in school and who had many friends as a 7th grader at Hillside Middle School. (Photo via the Bashiti family) https://t.co/vi5DVlBFy2 pic.twitter.com/x5aBK7A9Mw
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) November 26, 2017
The boy’s father was not injured. The group of five teenagers did reportedly get hit, including a 16-year-old who was shot in the head. That boy is reportedly hospitalized and his condition is not known.
It’s not clear yet whether the shooting was gang-related, according to Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams.
“We don’t know exactly what spurred this, what happened, but definitely, our hearts go out to the family of the victims here,” Williams said in a news conference.
“The only thing we have right now is that kids crossed paths and shots were fired.”
Police suspect the perpetrators also are juveniles.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the boy as Abdel Latif Bashiti, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
His death has shaken his family, which was hosting relatives for Thanksgiving. Family friends told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Abdel was assisting his dad at the store on the evening he was shot.
The boy’s aunt, Rashan Bashiti, said in an interview with the newspaper that Abdel loved sports and enjoyed playing with cousins.
Abdel also liked to spend time with his dad at the family business.
“He was just one of the most lovable kids you’d ever meet,” Mohammad Mator, Abdel’s father’s friend, told the newspaper.
Anyone with information about the shooting and the the suspects is urged to call the police homicide unit at 216-623-5464.
[Feature image: WKYC video screenshot/Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams]