NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A teenager on a basketball court in Queens was fatally shot and police are questioning a person of interest in the deadly shooting.
Sources say the teen was the unintended target of a random shooting, reports CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In New York: With Thousands Of Appointments Now Available, Some Local Leaders Voice Concerns About Vaccine Hesitancy
The victim has been identified as 14-year-old Aamir Griffin, of Queens.
“Young boy. High school student. Good student. From all indications, this was a good kid. We don’t think this kid was a target, by no means. It just looks like another senseless shooting,” said City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams.
Authorities told CBS2 officers were responding to call about someone being attacked near the Baisley Park Houses in Jamaica just after 8 p.m.
First responders found Griffin inside the housing complex’s basketball court suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso.
Sources say Griffin was on the court at Guy Brewer Boulevard, about 100 yards away from the shooter, when he was hit by a bullet.
Griffin was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police are still investigating the shooting and no arrests have been made. Sources tell CBS2 that person of interest in custody is also being investigated for other shootings in the area over the past few days.
“Another senseless shooting of a child,” said Adams. “We don’t know why, we just know it was senseless and tragic.”
Those who knew Griffin told CBSN New York’s Dave Carlin the teen loved basketball and was training with coaches at Benjamin Cardozo High School, where he was a freshman.
Fahad Salah works in a nearby deli where he says the boy spent a lot of time.READ MORE: Protesters Block Westbound Lanes Of Holland Tunnel
“It’s just terrible. It’s just terrible,” he said. “All the time when I walk away, go home, I see him all the time playing basketball, all the time.”
Ron Naclerio, Cardozo High’s head basketball coach, remembers Griffin as a charismatic and dedicated young player.
“He just was a bubbly kid,” he said. “He just would work, work, work, work, and unfortunately, him wanting to go outside in the park right next to his house last night, 8 o’clock, they have some lights. Unfortunately, being out there cost him his life, which is not fair.”
Counselors will be made available at Cardozo High School to help Griffin’s classmates and teachers process their feelings of shock and loss.
Dozens of candles dimly lit the basketball court Sunday night as family and friends gathered to mourn the aspiring player.
“I think that this is a tragedy out here. An innocent young man, a young boy, his life taken away at such an early age. It didn’t have to happen,” community activist Erica Ford told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.
Loved ones mourning him at his old neighborhood in Long Island City say he was cheated of a bright future.
“I was mad close to him. I just can’t believe that happened,” cousin Shawn Cuffie said. “He was a good basketball player. He was just a good sport and that’s crazy how that just happened to him.”
“He always stood for his own. It’s just crazy the way he went out. He had such a future, such potential,” friend Saniyah Harris said.
Police released video Sunday showing two additional individuals they are calling persons of interest in connection to the investigation. They are asking the public for help identifying them.
Anyone who has information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.