Teenage boy shot and killed near school in East Orange, NJ

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Teenage boy shot and killed near New Jersey school
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A teenage boy was shot and killed in East Orange Monday afternoon. Toni Yates has the story.

EAST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in East Orange Monday afternoon.

The gunfire erupted in a residential neighborhood near several schools, including the Edward T. Bowser School of Excellence on Lincoln Street.

It happened just after 3 p.m. Monday as many of those schools were letting out for the day.

Investigators say the 16-year-old was shot multiple times at the corner of Lincoln Street and Park Avenue.

He was taken to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead.

He was identified Tuesday by the mayor as Letrell Duncan.

Mayor Ted Green released a statement, that said in part:

"Yesterday, a young man's life was brazenly cut short by a senseless act of violence that we will never normalize in our city. 16-year-old Letrell Duncan deserves more. Our young people are hurting. And so am I. This shooting has shaken our community to its core, and collectively, we must come together to prioritize and protect our young people. EOPD has increased patrols in our school corridors and we are taking aggressive action to ensure gun violence does not disrupt our community.

"We need our children to feel safe traveling throughout our city. Anything else is unacceptable. I've been tough on crime since day one and I will remain that way - investing in more police officers and getting illegal guns off the street. But we also are investing in positive opportunities for our young people to mitigate the systemic pressures and disparities that put our youth at risk.

Green said he joins the community in mourning the terrible loss.

Mark Scott, the coach for Prospect Prep Academy basketball team that Duncan played for said he was a good kid.

"Letrell was not a gang member, or a street kid, he was a basketball player," Scott said.

Authorities are still working to determine what led up the shooting.

Parents are understandably worried about their kids' safety.

"You roll the dice every single day," said Amber Dorch. "You roll the dice every single day when you drop your kid off, when you do anything - especially now."

Dorch dropped off her child at school Tuesday morning. Now she can't help but think about the family who just lost their child.

"So it's hard. It's difficult," she told Eyewitness News. "I'm having a hard time this morning. It's very sad for that family and I'm praying for them."

Sources tell Eyewitness News investigators are looking into whether the shots came from a passing car or a group walking near the teen.

The incident was so traumatizing, the school crossing guard that usually works on the corner where the shooting happened took Tuesday off.

"Because she's scared, that's all," said fellow crossing guard Sandy Sanchez. "Everybody's scared."

Asked how she herself feels, Sanchez replied, "The same, but I got to do my job. I got to worry about my kids."

Mr. Russell is a school custodian who works nearby. He heard the gunshots and saw the young man lying on the ground.

"We're losing our teenagers," he said. "We're losing our Black kids, and we have to do a better job in trying to get to them so they do not continue to take each other's lives."

So far police have not made any arrests.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office is investigating.

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura announced Wednesday that the Essex County Sheriff's Crime Stoppers Program is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force Tips Line at 1-877-847-7432, 1-877-TIPS-4EC, or the East Orange Police Department Tips Hotline at 973-266-5041. Calls will be kept confidential.

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