PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man charged in a drive-by shooting that claimed the life of a promising New Jersey high school basketball player pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Gregory Oliver, 20, is charged with murder, three counts of attempted murder and weapons possession in the death of 15-year-old Armoni Sexton.

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Oliver was arraigned at the Passaic County courthouse.

“My client has no involvement with the tragedy that occurred,” Defense attorney Harley Breite told 1010 WINS’ Rebecca Granet before the court appearance. “My client didn’t know the young man. My client is not in a gang. This was not part of any retaliation by my client.”

Breite claims Oliver was a victim himself.

“He was shot that same night,” Breite said. “My client was struck with a bullet in his right arm and required immediate hospital care.”

Breite claims Oliver was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Paterson on Saturday, but does not know if the shooting happened before or after Sexton was killed.

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“He’s never shot anyone, he didn’t shoot anyone, he’s the victim of a shooting and people should recognize that he’s another one of the young victims here in Paterson who has been shot,” Breite said.

Bail is set at $2 million, cash only.

Sexton was a top scorer and rebounder at the Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology. The teen was killed in a drive-by shooting around 8:30 p.m. Saturday on Rosa Parks Boulevard in the Fourth Ward section of Paterson. Three other people were wounded in the shooting. They are expected to survive.

Oliver, too, was once a key player on a high school basketball team.

Sexton’s mother, Lawanda, said that she is praying for Oliver and his family.

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