GLASSELL PARK (CBSLA) — A 15-year-old boy was fatally shot Monday night outside an apartment complex in Highland Park, leaving police to search for a suspect and a motive in the killing.
Police said the victim, Joseph Lopez, got into an altercation with a suspect at an apartment complex in the 5700 block of Fayette Street around 8 p.m. Investigators said that as Lopez tried to run away, a suspect fired four gunshots, killing the teen.
“How violent and brutal is that,” Leana Corado, a friend who has known Lopez for years, said. “He didn’t deserve it.”
Lopez was a sophomore at Renaissance Arts Academy where Corado said he liked to play sports, skate and, at one time, played the violin.
“He’s just an innocent kid, a pure kid,” she said. “He’s just the nicest boy I’ve ever met.”
The wall outside the apartment where Lopez was shot was riddled with bullet holes. Cindy Correa lives there with her family, and was home when the shooting happened.
“I was scared,” she said. “I was just thinking, ‘Are they fireworks? Are they gunshots?’ But I heard them pretty clear, and they were gunshots.”
Correa said Lopez was a classmate of hers.
“I was sad, I was broken,” she said. “I just want justice for him, so I’m just trying to stay strong, but it’s hard.”
Lopez is survived by his mother, father, two younger siblings and a group of friends — all struggling to understand why someone would hurt Lopez, a teen who his friends said got along with everyone and never went looking for trouble.
“It’s really heartbreaking knowing that my best friend passed away,” Corado said. “It’s just, like, hard.”
Details about the suspect were not immediately released, but police said they did not believe the shooting was gang related.