LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) – Family members and friends are mourning after a 14-year-old died from his injuries after being shot at a birthday party Saturday night in Lawrence.
Authorities identified the boy as Daron Johnson, affectionately known to loved ones as “Manny.”
Lawrence Police Department has arrested a 14-year-old in connection to the shooting, and are still looking for a second shooter. Authorities have not given the name of the 14-year-old suspect.
Family members said the shooting could have been avoided and they remain in disbelief that Manny is gone.
“When you think of ‘Manny,’ you think of a real big smile,” his cousin Asia Riggs said. “He was always there for his little brother. You would never put him in this type of category. He wasn’t that type of kid. It was his first party. He always went to the skating rink to go have fun, not parties.”
Riggs fought back tears Friday as she remembered her young cousin.
Manny died Friday morning after being shot at a birthday party Saturday night at a Lions Club clubhouse at 4745 N. Richardt Ave. in Lawrence. That’s just east of Interstate 465.
Investigators said they believe a fight between two people escalated to two groups of people fighting.
In all, five including Manny were shot.
Lawrence police said parents were supervising the party. Family and friends of Manny said that should have been enough to stop the violence.
“Where were your parents at?” Carolyn Holland said. “What are we doing as parents to stand up and see that our kids live to see the future, live to see another day, instead of picking up a handgun because of something somebody said they didn’t like or they didn’t get invited to a party? We are talking about 14-year-olds here.”
With police still looking for a second shooter, Riggs had strong words for whomever did this.
“They just need to quit being so hard and thinking that they get street credit and all this stuff,” Riggs said. “Just go do what you’ve got to do. It was a 14-year-old. He didn’t have a personal beef with them whatsoever. He was shot at a crowd. Just go do your time.”
Riggs fought back more tears as she talked about the memory of her cousin.
“I love you little cuz,” Riggs said. “I’m sorry it happened. Yeah, you went to go have fun, but I’m sorry it happened. May you rest.”
At the time the 14-year-old was arrested, he faced preliminary charges of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and dangerous possession of a firearm by a minor. Lawrence police said they have provided updates on the case, including Manny’s death, to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutors will make a final decision on formal charges.
If you have any information about this case, call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.
Manny’s funeral is set for June 23. A vigil will be held Saturday night in his honor.