Indiana boy, 13, killed while trick-or-treating

"Some ignorant, sick person decided to shoot at kids," the victim's mother said.

An Indiana man was charged with murder Wednesday in the death of 13-year-old Thomas DeLaCruz Jr. who was killed while trick-or-treating on Halloween. 

“He was being a kid out with his aunt trick-or-treating, walking with a group of kids,” DeLaCruz’s mother, Jasmine Anderson, said, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported. “And some ignorant, sick person decided to shoot at kids.”

Thomas DeLaCruz Jr.
Thomas DeLaCruz Jr. (Credit: Facebook)

DeLaCruz was trick-or-treating with a group of teenagers in Hammond on Sunday when they encountered a man with whom the victim had a verbal altercation. According to one of the teens, the man threatened to get a gun and shoot them. 

The group later saw the man with several people inside a car who appeared to be watching them.

“The occupants of the car appeared to be staring at them,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by PEOPLE. “The silver car then parked and the occupants got out.”

“When [the teen] observed one of the occupants take a shooting stance, he told everyone to run,” states the affidavit.

That’s when shots rang out and DeLaCruz was struck. Another teen was shot in the leg. DeLaCruz died at the hospital. The other teen was treated and released from the hospital.

“He just wanted to be a kid,” Anderson said. “Kids shouldn’t have to worry about someone rolling upon them while they’re trying to collect candy with friends.”

Police arrested Desmond Crews, 23, after the father of one of the teenagers reportedly chased him in the neighborhood.

Desmond Crews
Desmond Crews, 23, is charged with murder and attempted murder. (Credit: HAMMOND POLICE DEPARTMENT)

Crews allegedly confessed that he was handed a 9mm by someone in the car, and after he “heard the others in the car shoot, he felt like he had to shoot.”

“Although he shot above their heads, he wasn’t confident that he didn’t shoot someone because he observed a kid in a blue hooded sweatshirt fall to the ground and no longer move,” the affidavit states.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9.

“While we are thankful for the community support which led to the arrest of the person of interest, we are heartbroken that such an event could even occur,” cops said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the families of these boys.”

“I’m only 30 years old. I only got 13 years with my son,” Anderson said.

“My son was a good kid, he didn’t deserve it,” said Thomas DeLaCruz Sr., the boy’s father. “It’s a senseless act of violence. He just wanted to trick-or-treat.”

“We want to thank the neighbors here,” said Linda Castel, Thomas’ great-grandmother. “All the neighbors that came out to open their doors for these kids while they were running for their lives. And the two men that were here who chased the shooter down.”

Police said additional suspects are being investigated.

“You’re a coward,” Anderson said to those involved in the shooting. “You contemplated that. You knew those were kids and you still shot. You let off over 40 rounds of ammunition at some teenagers. And to the rest of those out there who participated in that, I will find you. I am going to find you. I am not going to stop. I am going to do this every day of my life until I have justice for my son. I promise you I am never letting my son go. Everybody is going to know my son when I’m done.”

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