WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police late Thursday were looking for a killer after a 19-year-old man was found shot dead inside a vehicle at a West Orange apartment building.
Around midnight Wednesday, police received reports of gunshots in the area of North Field Avenue and Walker Road. About a mile away, cops found Brendan Tevlin, of Livingston, dead from an apparent gunshot wound, authorities said.
His body was discovered in a Jeep in the Ron Jolyn apartment complex parking lot. Both the driver and passenger windows were shattered, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported. The teen reportedly was visiting a friend and had just texted his mom to say he was headed home.
Police said Tevlin was targeted, but they haven’t elaborated.
“How do you get past this?” a woman who answered the phone at the family’s home told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith. “How do you do that?
“He was kind,” said the woman, who would only described herself as a family member. “He was a good friend to everybody, the best big brother to his three siblings.”
Tevlin had just completed his freshman year at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and was home from college for the summer.
At a vigil at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, Tevlin’s alma mater, former classmates remembered the teen, CBS 2’s Matt Kozar reported. They said he loved lacrosse and country music.
“It was just a really tough thing,” Mike Muha. “I’m in shock. Brendan was my best friend.”
Neighbors and relatives were devastated by the teen’s death.
“Oh my God! Allison’s son?” one stunned woman said to CBS 2’s Steve Langford upon learning the news.
“It’s an awful thing,” another neighbor said. “It’s a terrible thing to hear about. I can’t even imagine. That’s all I can say is it’s just very sad.”
“How can somebody kill somebody?” another woman said. “How can somebody kill somebody?”
“Wonderful kid. Straight-A student,” said Joe Callaghan, Tevlin’s uncle. “Lived right in my neighborhood. He’s been around my house for years. And not an enemy in the world.”
Those who lived near Tevlin gathered at his home Thursday to offer comfort to his family.
Many residents of the apartment complex where Tevlin’s body was found said they didn’t hear anything and were surprised to see a crime scene outside their windows.
“I was shocked,” resident Brittany Wilkerson said. “I just thought it was the craziest thing because it’s really just a quiet and nice neighborhood.”
“They had police cars all the way up the street,” said resident Kathy Richards. “A little shocked to wake up to.”
“I thought they were just blocking off a street for a tree falling, but I heard nothing — didn’t hear anything,” said resident Bob Howley. “But apparently, this guy was found dead in his car.”
No arrests have been made. Investigators late Thursday were not saying how Tevlin or the vehicle ended up outside the apartments.
The investigation was ongoing late Thursday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office tip line at (877) 847-7432.
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