TyShawn Christian was fatally shot this weekend on Smith Street and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards at the hospital.
Christian, also a rapper who went by the name Tik Millie, was a standout pitcher for the Newark Astros.
Sources say they have no reason to believe Christian was the intended target of the shooting. They say shots were fired into a crowd and he was struck.
His mother said she heard the shots fired and by the time she got to her son, he was dying in someone else's arms just yards away from his home.
"We heard the shots ring out, by the time we got out there, there was another mother cradling my son until he took his last breath," Tonya Christian said.
"He was the type of person that people looked up to because of where he came from, because he was able to stay away from the streets," his coach Michael Dixon said. "He was positive, he was doing music, and he was working -- he just loved the sport of baseball, we played baseball every Sunday."
In a place where the streets can be mean, those streets did not catch Christian. He was never arrested, never in trouble with the law and he was even a role model to kids who came behind him.
"Tik influenced me to rap, he influenced me to go to school, pursue going to college," one friend said.
Now the baseball player's mother is doing the unimaginable -- she is making arrangements to bury her only son -- a loss that changes her life forever.
"That's exactly what they did, they cut off my bloodline," Tonya Christian said. "He has no children and therefore everything stopped when he stopped."
The news of his death hit his Astros teammates hard. "When I found out he died I just pulled over and I started crying," said catcher Richard Perez. "I'm getting emotional right now."
"He was the type of person you could come to him for anything. He wouldn't judge you," said Christian's best friend Rudy Martinez, who was supposed to pick him up the day he was killed.
"I know he's here in spirit but not having him physically here is getting to me," said Martinez. "I deal with things differently but I keep going. I try to stay positive."
The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task force tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.
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