Robert Cuadra wake: Family, friends to mourn innocent NJ teen killed by stray bullet

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Family and friends will gather Thursday at a wake for a teenager who was killed when he was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle in New Jersey.

Robert Cuadra, 18, was helping his grandmother bring groceries inside her home when the shots rang out.

Two of the suspected shooters, Jaquin Williams and Jahed Jones, both 19, were in court Wednesday, with the judge ruling they would remain in custody pending trial.

A third suspect, 18-year-old Kahaz Heron, is expected in court next week.

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Cuadra's family says he was excited for college and had been awarded a full four-year scholarship to Montclair State University.

"He didn't deserve a bullet to the head," mom Ivernis Santiago said. "He didn't deserve that at all. He was a good kid."

A vigil celebrating Cuadra's life was held last week at the library where he went to school, with his classmates and school staff reflecting on his short life.

Cuadra was remembered as a dedicated student at HARP Academy who cared for his family and friends, a hard-working, polite, humble and intelligent young man.

"We all mourn the loss of this incredible young man with a tremendously bright future," principal Kelli White said. "Everyone loved Robert. There are no words. He will be missed."

During his three and half years at HARP Academy, Cuardra was an active member of the Interact Club, he participated in numerous service projects including Breast Cancer and March of Dimes walks, canned food and clothing drives, Habitat for Humanity-home construction, Leukemia/Lymphoma-coin collection, and The Heifer International Project.

He enjoyed boxing and he recently was teaching himself to play the guitar.

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Cuadra worked at a well-known catering hall in Paterson, and his mother wants the world to know he was a good kid who deserved so much better.

"He was born and raised here," she said. "He was born at St. Joe's Hospital. He died at St. Joe's Hospital."

A funeral Mass is set for Friday

The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office asks anyone with additional information about the incident to call the tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO or tips@passaiccountynj.org or contact the Paterson Police Detective Bureau at 973-321-1120.

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