A high school basketball star in Massachusetts who helped his high school win the state championship was shot to death days before his first game as a college freshman, and a suspect has been arrested in the ki*lling, which officials said did not appear to be random.
Carl-Hens Beliard, 18, of Salem State University, was discovered with gunshot wounds inside a vehicle around 1:30 a.m. Officials stated on Wednesday. He was taken to Salem Hospital and pronounced dead.
“This does not appear to be a random act of violence or that there is any ongoing threat to the SSU community,” the police said.
According to the Boston Globe, Missael Pena Canela, 18, of Salem, was arrested on a m*urder charge that night by Essex County District Attorney Paul Tucker’s office.
“This senseless gun violence is tragic not only for the victim’s family but for the SSU community and beyond,” Tucker said in a statement.
University President John Keenan expressed his sorrow over the senseless death, which occurred as revelers had crowded the city for its Halloween celebration – and days before Beliard was to play his first college hoops game.
“As both the Salem State president and a college dad, this tragedy is heartbreaking for all in our community and every parent’s worst nightmare,” he said in a release.
According to the Boston Globe, the shooting occurred across from a parking lot near the school’s athletic facilities.
“He was such a good kid,” Altagrace Beliard, Beliard’s mother, told WHDH.
She stated that basketball had been his passion since he was two years old and that he aspired to be a star.
“He was never defeated. “No matter how difficult it was, he kept pushing himself,” the bereaved mother said.
Belliard, a forward on the men’s basketball team, was a member of the Worcester North High School varsity boys basketball team, which won the Division 1 State Championship in May and was honoured by Worcester Mayor Joseph Pettey.
According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the team won the championship after defeating Needham 73-64 in March.
At a victory rally, Beliard, the team’s only senior, said the championship felt “like a dream come true.”
“I’ve always wanted to win a championship since I first started playing basketball.” “It’s an incredible sensation,” he told the Telegram. “We have a lot of chemistry on the team, and that’s how we got this far and why we’re here now.”
“We socialise outside of basketball.” We’re all basketball players. “It’s almost like a brotherhood,” he adds.
The 6-foot-5 forward told the paper that he intended to major in exercise science in college and eventually earn a doctorate in physical therapy. He also mentioned the team’s camaraderie both on and off the court.
According to the Boston Globe, the young man also made the high school honour roll in the second quarter of his senior year.
On Wednesday afternoon, Al Pettway, the dean of students at Worcester’s North High School and the boys basketball coach, shared his memories of Beliard.
“He was a great kid, smart, smart student, he had a smile that would just brighten up any room when he would open his mouth, so we lost a really, really good one today, unfortunately,” Pettway said in an interview with the Globe.
“I had just spoken to him about a month ago, he was excited about school, enjoying himself, he sent me his basketball schedule so I was excited about going to watch him play,” he told me.
“College basketball starts very shortly, so I was really excited about going to see him play in uniform, and unfortunately that’s not gonna happen,” he said.
He admitted that informing Beliard’s former teammates about his death was difficult.
“They were taken aback. They assumed I was referring to a different Carl. ‘Which Carl?’ they asked several times. “I kind of reinforced to them that it was our Carl,” Pettway said, according to WHDH.
Massachusetts Gov. Gov. Maura Healey also spoke about the loss, telling reporters that “it’s incredibly sad. Heartbreaking.”
Salem Mayor Dominick Pangallo described the shooting as a terrible act of violence.
“Our hearts go out to the Beliard family and to the Salem State University community,” he said in a statement.
Worcester Mayor Joe Petty was “heartbroken to hear about the tragic loss.”
“Carl was a hardworking, kind individual whose life was taken far too soon,” he said on Facebook.
“Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare.” As a father of three, I can’t imagine the anguish that Carl’s family is experiencing. My heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with the family at this difficult time. “My thoughts are with Carl’s family, teammates, and friends,” he added.