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Vigil held for 16-year-old student killed on soccer field over shoes

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An Indianapolis family is pleading for justice after a 16-year-old was shot and killed during a dispute over his shoes.

The shooting took place Friday night at an apartment complex on Indianapolis’s west side. The teenage victim died from his injuries on Tuesday.

Friends and family are planning to hold a candlelight vigil Wednesday night. It will start at 6 p.m. near the 5700 block of Port Lillian Drive. Anyone is welcome to attend, but the family asks that you wear something white or pastel in color.

The vigil is not just meant to pay respect to the victim, but also to remind the public that police need help solving the case.

“We’ll have flowers and candles out for this young man. It’s very senseless,” said neighbor Jerry Harper.

Buying supplies for a candlelight vigil in honor of a teen he didn’t know felt like the right thing to do for Harper, whose fiancé watched the fatal shooting first hand Friday night.

“She felt very bad. That’s why I went out and got candles for the vigil. I think it’s terrible,” said Harper.

Police say 16-year-old Juan Romero-Sanchez died after being shot in the abdomen.

Investigators say Romero-Sanchez was playing soccer with a young nephew and some friends Friday night when two men approached them.

After an argument over a pair of shoes, someone pulled out a gun and opened fire.

The 16-year-old victim attended Ben Davis High School. The district superintendent tweeted his condolences writing, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Juan Romero-Sanchez. Juan was a great young man."

Because no one has yet been arrested for the killing, neighbors say community involvement is key to their safety.

“Look out for one another. We can police our own communities. If everyone is vigilant, we can always keep away from trouble,” said Harper.

Harper believes the vigil in honor of Romero-Sanchez is about more than just this one tragic death.

“It’s important to let everyone know we all have a voice and if we all stand up we can get rid of the negativity in our neighborhoods,” said Harper.

Right now police do not have a great description of the suspects to give out. Anyone with information on the suspects is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

The family has set up a Go Fund Me account to help with funeral expenses.

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