MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There are calls for justice following the killing of a high school student in northern New Jersey.
Moussa Fofana was fatally shot Sunday night at a sports complex in Maplewood, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Tuesday.READ MORE: More Than 1,000 People Show Up For Party In Long Branch After Social Media Blast
His mother and his many aunts and uncles are heartbroken. They said he was a loving son who always stayed out of trouble, and that they moved to Maplewood so he could grow up in a safe environment.
His priorities were family, friends and soccer. So, it’s on everyone’s mind: why would anyone do this?
“My son did not deserve what happened to him, you know. He was a happy child. He was a good kid. He was not in trouble. He was kind to everybody,” mother Hawa Fofana told CBS2 exclusively.
Hawa Fofana is distraught over the murder of her son, 18-year-old Moussa Fofana, an 11th grader at Columbia High School.
She last saw him Sunday at around 7 p.m., a few hours before he was fatally shot at the Underhill Sports Complex. His best friend was injured in the incident.
She said Moussa hugged her extra tight before leaving home that night.
“Gave me a kiss. I’m like, ‘C’mon, you’re hurting my leg.’ He said, ‘C’mon mom. You’re always complaining. I’m going to kiss you anyway,'” Hawa Fofana said.
The Essex County prosecutor said Moussa was pronounced dead at the scene.
Friends said Moussa and the other teen were cutting through the field to go to a friend’s house to watch a late-night boxing match.
People in the neighborhood said, at times, some people gather at night in the field drinking and doing drugs, but it’s still not clear why Moussa was shot.READ MORE: Randolph School Board Overturns Decision Removing Names Of Holidays From School Calendar
“Whoever did this to us, we pray to God this person must come to justice. We can’t just let it slide. Moussa deserve better. They took away all his dreams and his life. He was full of life,” Moussa’s aunt, Masabore Kamara, said.
Moussa was born in the U.S., but spent time with family in Liberia, where he learned to play soccer. He aspired to become a professional soccer player like his cousin.
“I told him if you want to play, if you go out there and don’t have a high school diploma, it’s going to be hard for you,” Yousef Fofana said. “You gotta practice more while people sleeping. You gotta be outside.”
And classmates said, he was.
“It doesn’t matter if it was raining, storming, snowing, lightning, it doesn’t matter. He would be out here training,” Dylan Pillsbury-Clark said.
“He’d be at the soccer field at 10 p.m. at night in the middle of winter with just a flashlight on training. His dream was to go pro and I feel like he had the talent and work ethic to do it,’ soccer teammate Joshua Billec said.
His smile brought comfort.
“He was like one of the funniest people I knew. Every time I spoke to him he would always make a laugh even a little hello,” Chloe Miles said.
When not studying or playing soccer, Moussa watched after his 5-year-old brother so his mom could run the clothing store she has in town. His brother does not know yet that Moussa is gone.
A GoFundMe page for the family has raised tens of thousands of dollars, but for his mom it’s all still too surreal.
“If I can steal him one more day, I would choose that,” Hawa Fofana said. “He was an amazing child. He was a loving person, a caring person. He was a gift God [gave] to me.”MORE NEWS: Video Simulation Shows What Empire Wind Project, Off Long Island And N.J., Will Look Like From Shore
Police said the investigation is ongoing. Moussa’s friend, who was shot in the leg, is said to be recovering.