High School Student Fatally Shot Near Soccer Field Where He Excelled


An 18-year-old high school junior was fatally shot near a New Jersey sports complex late Sunday and a second student was also hit by gunfire, officials said.

The slain teenager was identified by the authorities as Moussa Fofana, who was killed a short distance from the Maplewood soccer field where he distinguished himself as a leading scorer during Columbia High School’s most recent season. It was unclear why he was near the field, which is several blocks from the school, when the shooting occurred.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy, speaking on Monday at his regular daily news briefing, called the killing “another case of gun violence in our midst.” Maplewood, a town with about 24,000 residents, is just outside Newark and roughly 20 miles west of Times Square.

Police officers responded to an area near the Underhill Sports Complex shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday after getting reports of gunfire, according to a statement from Maplewood’s police chief, Jimmy DeVaul, and Theodore N. Stephens II, the acting Essex County prosecutor.

Upon arriving, the officers found Moussa with a gunshot wound, according to Chief DeVaul and Mr. Stephens. He was pronounced dead about a half-hour later. The second student who had been shot sustained a wound that was not considered life-threatening, the officials said.

Moussa’s death was being treated as a homicide and no arrests had been made as of Monday afternoon, Chief DeVaul and Mr. Stephens said.

Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, the South Orange-Maplewood schools superintendent, said in a letter to parents and staff members that the shooting was an “inconceivable calamity.”

Suzanne Fein, who was among Moussa’s middle school teachers, described him to the local news website The Village Green as “a student who never went without a thank you and a kind smile, grateful for all who engaged with him.”

“A positive light in our world has dimmed, and our hearts are forever saddened,” Ms. Fein said.



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