INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The family of a 14-year-old boy murdered in Indianapolis spoke out Tuesday about the crime.
The victim was gunned down Monday night outside a Popeyes restaurant on 16th Street on the city’s near northwest side.
Writing heartfelt notes of love, a dozen family members set up a small memorial to say goodbye to a teen known affectionately as “Bug Baby.”
“This is hard for us. This is my first nephew. My first nephew,” said the victim’s aunt Ja’Quece Hughes.
“Bug,” whose real name is Anthony Hughes Jr., died after police say someone shot the teen in the chest in the Popeyes parking lot while customers were inside the store.
“He was amazing. He was funny. He was everything to us,” said Ja’Quece.
“Words can’t even explain how we are feeling,” said the victim’s mother Shaherah Smith-Hughes. “This was my son. You never imagine this will happen to your child.”
The 14-year-old boy attended 8th grade at Northwest High School. His mom says her son had been in the gifted program and was a huge basketball fan.
“He loved basketball. I mean loved basketball. He was respectful and just an ordinary teenager,” said Smith-Hughes.
“He knows basketball from me. I used to take him everywhere. I’d take him in a car seat to watch me play basketball,” said Ja’Quece.
“Our hearts go out to the Hughes family,” said IMPD chief Bryan Roach.
Surrounded by his command staff and other community leaders, IMPD chief Bryan Roach promised his department is working hard to find the 14-year-old’s killer.
“We do care. We’re going to do everything we can to stop this,” said Roach.
Hughes’ family says they are praying for justice and hope the death sends a message to the community.
“These are kids that are dying left and right in our community and we need to come together and help one another out,” said Smith-Hughes.
“We all need to get it together and invest in our children instead of violence,” said Ja’Quece.
So far no arrests have been made, but anyone with information on the suspect in this case can contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.