Mom of N.J. High School Soccer Star Killed Last Month Demands Answers: 'I Want to Understand — Why?'
Hawa Fofana says her son Moussa was "very gentle, very respectful to everybody and very friendly and outgoing"
Hawa Fofana prays for answers every day.
More than a month after her son, Moussa Fofana, was fatally shot outside a sports complex in suburban New Jersey, the grieving mother and small business owner says she's no closer to knowing who killed the 18-year-old high school soccer star, or why it happened.
"It has been very difficult for me and my family," Hawa tells PEOPLE. "It's hard, very hard. We really want answers, and that's my prayer — that somebody comes forward and there is justice. I want to understand — why? What did Moussa do to you?"
Moussa, a talented athlete with dreams of playing soccer professionally, was shot to death on June 6.
He was finishing out his junior year at Columbia High School in Maplewood when he was struck by gunfire near the town's Underhill Sports Complex, where he had played soccer for his school and could be seen practicing the sport daily.
A second student was also wounded in the shooting, but is expected to fully recover.
Authorities continue to investigate Moussa's killing, but they haven't told his mother much about what they have learned. At this point, no arrests have been made, and no suspects or persons of interests have been publicly identified.
Hawa, who immigrated to the United States from Liberia in late 2002, tells PEOPLE her son was a kind person who was focused on realizing his dream of becoming an international soccer star.
"Every parent knows their child, and Moussa, he was not a trouble maker," she explains. "His goal was to play soccer and pursue this big dream he had. He practiced every day, because he wanted to be the best."
Moussa was born in New York City and then lived in New Jersey for several years. He went to live with his grandmother in Liberia's capital of Monrovia when he was 5, and he returned to the U.S. when he was 11.
She describes him as "very gentle, very respectful to everybody and very friendly and outgoing" – a sentiment that was expressed by the dozens who spoke at a recent rally in Moussa's honor, NJ.com reports.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched online to help the family.
While she's trying to stay strong for the rest of her family, Hawa acknowledges there are times when that's impossible.
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"It's so hard to have your child taken away from you, in a snap, and still have no answers," she says. "Moussa wasn't a quiet kid. He was very outgoing. Even when he was in the house, he was on the phone, or he was playing with his brother or helping me with the cooking in the kitchen. And now, the house is just silent."
Hawa says the love and support she has felt from the community "is still helping" her get through this difficult time, but says getting the truth about what happened to Moussa will help more.
"I hope I get answers very soon," Hawa says. "It only takes one person to do the right thing. Me and my family, we pray for that person — that they will have the courage to come forward."
A reward of $50,000 is being offered for tips leading to the shooter's identity. Confidential information can be supplied to Essex County Sheriff's Office's CrimeStoppers using this link. Tipsters can also call (877) 847-7432 if they have information they want to share.