13-Year-Old Ind. Boy Is Fatally Shot While Trick-or-Treating: 'The Best Little Man'

Thomas DeLaCruz Jr., 13, was killed while he was out trick-or-treating with friends and family.

thomas de la cruz
Thomas DeLaCruz Jr. Photo: Facebook

A teen was fatally shot Sunday while he was out trick-or-treating with friends and family.

Thomas DeLaCruz Jr., 13, was killed at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday as he was walking down the street in his grandmother's Hammond, Ind., neighborhood.

"He was everything," DeLaCruz's mother Jasmine Anderson said, NBC 5 Chicago reports. "The best little man, he was. For the 13 years we got to see, he was so happy, full of life."

A trick-or-treater wearing a clown mask in DeLaCruz's group told police he got into a verbal altercation with a man across the street who was wearing shorts, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.

Before the man left the area, the teen in the clown mask said the man "threatened to get a .38 and shoot them," the affidavit states.

The group of trick-or-treaters were several blocks away when a silver car with four to six people inside drove by.

"The occupants of the car appeared to be staring at them," the affidavit states. "The silver car then parked and the occupants got out."

Desmond Crews
Desmond Crews. Hammond Police Department

The teen wearing the clown mask said one of the occupants appeared to be the man who previously threatened them.

"When [the teen] observed one of the occupants take a shooting stance, he told everyone to run," states the affidavit.

DeLaCruz was struck along with another teen, who was shot in the leg. The other teen survived and was treated at a local hospital. DeLaCruz was taken to the hospital, where he died.

"He just wanted to be a kid," Anderson said. "Kids shouldn't have to worry about someone rolling up on them while they're trying to collect candy with friends."

Police later arrested Desmond Crews, 23, who was seen fleeing the scene. He is charged with murder and attempted murder.

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According to the affidavit, Crews allegedly confessed that someone in the car gave him a 9mm, and that after he "heard the others in the car shoot, he felt like he had to shoot."

"Although he shot above their heads, he wasn't confident that he didn't shoot someone because he observed a kid in a blue hooded sweatshirt fall to the ground and no longer move," the affidavit states.

An attorney for Crews could not be reached for comment. It is unclear if he has entered a plea.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9.

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