Teenager Shot Dead While Trick-or-Treating in Indiana

A 13-year-old boy was killed and another boy wounded on Sunday while they were out trick-or-treating in Indiana.

Thomas DeLaCruz Jr., from East Chicago, had only just turned 13. His mother Jasmine Anderson described him as "the best son in the world," reported The Times of Midwest Indiana.

He and his friend, who has not been named, were trick-or-treating in the city of Hammond when several men opened fire on their group at about 7:30 p.m. on Halloween.

The shooting took place in the 3600 block of 167th Street, according to Lake Criminal Court records.

One of the trick-or-treaters told police that he had exchanged words with a man around 30 to 45 minutes before the incident. The man had "threatened to get a .38 and shoot them," court records state.

Desmond Crews, a 23-year-old from Gary, was charged on Wednesday with murder and attempted murder. He has yet to enter a plea in relation to the charges.

Crews was captured by a Hammond police officer after the father of one of the trick-or-treaters began chasing him from the scene, according to court records.

Police said an investigation into other potential suspects was continuing.

Newsweek has contacted Hammond Police for further comment.

Anderson told The Times of Midwest Indiana that her son "was being a kid out with his aunt trick-or-treating, walking with a group of kids. And some ignorant, sick person decided to shoot at kids.

"He was the best brother, the best cousin, the best friend in the world. He danced, he was happy, he was a kid.

"He loved his games, he loved football, he loved his mom, his dad. We were so family oriented."

She said her son was trick-or-treating in the Hessville neighborhood of Hammond, where his grandmother had lived for more than 15 years.

The court documents state that the trick-or-treaters noticed a silver car with five or six people in it. The passengers in the car appeared to be staring at the teenagers.

The man who had earlier threatened to shoot them got out of the silver car, while another passenger took a "shooting stance," according to court records. One of the boys told his friends to run and gunshots rang out.

Crews was seen running with a gun before he was caught, the documents state. Surveillance video showed him discarding an item, later discovered to be a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and two magazines, in a storage barrel.

There were 991 gun violence deaths among people 17 or younger in the United States in 2019, according to the website Gun Violence Archive. That increased to 1,378 in 2020. The figure for 2021 so far is 1,279.