2 Months After Slaying of N.J. Soccer Star Near Field, Suspect Is Arrested

Moussa Fofana, 18, was finishing out his junior year at Columbia High School in Maplewood when he was killed on June 6

moussa fofana
Moussa Fofana. Photo: gofundme

A New Jersey man was charged Thursday with murder in the June fatal shooting of a high school soccer star.

Yohan Hernandez, 20, was also charged with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in connection with the death of of Moussa Fofana, who was killed in Maplewood near the soccer field on which he starred.

Fofana, 18, was finishing out his junior year at Columbia High School when he was struck by gunfire on June 6 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 survived.

Yohan Hernandez
Yohan Hernandez. Essex County Prosecutor's Office

"My family felt a great sense of relief this afternoon upon learning of the arrest in the shooting death of our beloved son, Moussa Fofana," his mother, Hawa Fofana, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "We would like to express our gratitude to law enforcement and to our entire community for their commitment to justice over the last couple of months."

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Fofana, a talented athlete with dreams of playing soccer professionally, 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.

"It has been very difficult for me and my family," Hawa Fofana previously told PEOPLE. "It's hard, very hard. I want to understand — why? What did Moussa do to you?"

Hawa described her son as "very gentle, very respectful to everybody and very friendly and outgoing" – a sentiment that was expressed by the dozens who spoke at a rally in Fofana's honor, NJ.com reports.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched online to help the family.

Hernandez is in custody and will be in court next week for a detention hearing. It is unclear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

With reporting by CHRIS HARRIS

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