CLEVELAND (AP/WCMH) – Family members say the 12-year-old boy killed by a stray bullet during a shooting attack near his father’s beauty supply store in Cleveland was a good student who loved sports.
Abdel Bashiti, of Parma, was shot Friday night when he and his father, who owned the store, walked outside after gunfire erupted. Five teen boys between the ages of 14 and 16 standing in front of a liquor store next door were wounded, including a 16-year-old hospitalized with a head wound.
Relatives tell Cleveland.com that Abdel was a seventh-grader who was celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with family members from all over the country. They say he only occasionally helped his father at the store.
Activists and local residents held a march in Abdel’s memory and a rally to end violence on Saturday night.
Jamal Elayyam, the owner of a liquor store near where the shooting happened, attended the rally and told NBC’s Cleveland affiliate WKYC that Abdel was a good kid.
“He’s a nice smart kid, [he’s] smart. He plays sports and all that stuff. He’s a good kid,” Elayyam said. “It’s a sad moment, because he’s an innocent kid.”
Elayyam was working when the shooting happened and witnessed the aftermath.
“I seen one kid on the ground bleeding, and I don’t know what to do,” he told WKYC. “And two other kids in the store laying on the floor, because they don’t want to stay outside.”
Those who attended the rally prayed for wisdom and strength and said they will continue to speak out until the violence stops.
“Give us the way to crack the code amongst young people who wear the same clothes, eat the same food, wear the same tennis shoes and do the same dances,” said Khalid Samad, the organizer of the rally.