Carl-Hens Beliard, an 18-year-old basketball phenom, was shot to death just days before his first college game.
“He was such a good kid,” his mother, Altagrace Beliard, told WHDH, noting that basketball had been Carl-Hens’ passion since he was two years old.
Carl-Hens reportedly dreamed of playing pro and was on track to fulfill his ambitions. Altagrace said: “He never gave up. No matter how hard it was, he kept pushing himself.”
Last year, Beliard led his Massachusetts Worcester’s North High School team to win the Division 1 State Championship. His outstanding play was recognized by Mayor Joseph Petty.
When hearing of Beliard’s death, Petty said: “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.”
At the time, Beliard said: “Ever since I started playing basketball, I always wanted to win a championship. It’s an amazing feeling. We have a lot of chemistry on the team and that’s how we got so far, that’s why we’re here right now.
He was found in a vehicle near Salem State University’s athletics facilities at approximately 1:30 a.m., bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the New York Post.
Beliard was rushed to Salem Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The murder is thought to have occurred as throngs of young people swarmed the area for various Halloween celebrations.
Local police stated: “This does not appear to be a random act of violence or that there is any ongoing threat to the SSU community.”
The Boston Globe reported that the office of Paul Tucker, the Essex County district attorney, reported the arrest of Missael Pena Canela,18. Canela is charged with murder.
The statement from Tucker added: “This senseless gun violence is tragic not only for the victim’s family but for the SSU community and beyond.”
John Keenan, president of Salem University, expressed shock and sorrow when made aware of Beliard’s death. Keenan said: “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.”
The 6-foot-5 forward previously shared that he was committed to studying exercise science and pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy at Salem University.
Many have shared their shock at the news of the shooting.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey told reporters: “It’s incredibly sad. Heartbreaking.”
Salem Mayor Dominick Pangallo said the murder was “a terrible act of violence,” adding, “Our hearts go out to the Beliard family and to the Salem State University community.”
Worcester Mayor Joe Petty posted on Facebook that he was “heartbroken to hear about the tragic loss.” He added, “Carl was a hardworking, kind individual whose life was taken too soon.”
Petty added: “It is every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child. As a father of three, I simply cannot imagine the pain that Carl’s family is going through. My sincere condolences and thoughts are with the family at this time. My heart goes out to Carl’s family, teammates, and friends.”
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