Police in Newark, New Jersey are trying to identify potential witnesses after a high school cheerleader was shot and killed, just two weeks after graduation. The uncle of 17-year-old Cheyanne Bond says the teen never had a chance.
“They told her to get on her knees and they shot her in the head execution style,” Michael Bond said.
Investigators said teen was walking along West Side Park on South 17th Street in Newark with her ex-boyfriend Sunday night when both teens were shot. Cheyanne was killed, but her ex-boyfriend survived.
“Just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Michael Bond said.
Cheyanne had graduated from Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark just nine days ago. Friends describe her as hard-working and quiet and said she was excited about her plans to study nursing at Union County College this fall.
“She just graduated, she was about to go to college,” said friend Latayjsia Wilson. “She was a real nice girl, that’s why I never thought it would be her.”
“She was just about to start her real life as an adult, going to college and now it’s been taken from her,” said family friend Trishema Ratcliffe. “I’m just hoping they can find justice for her and find the person that did it.”
The teen was the third homicide in Newark over a 24-hour period last weekend, a trend the city’s new mayor Ras Baraka addressed during his inauguration Tuesday.
“Some are even afraid to patronize their corner stores or worse, still mourning the deaths of their loved ones from senseless violence,” he said.
Residents are demanding action.
“You can’t even go to your own park in your own neighborhood without somebody getting shot down,” said Newark resident Stephanie Lowe.
“Bullets are flying everywhere. People are really unsafe,” Clifford Richwood told CBS
With her killer still on the run, investigators have put up signs urging any witnesses to come forward.
On Tuesday, police released a surveillance photo of two males walking south on South 17th Street just minutes after the shooting who may or may not have witnessed the incident, authorities said.
Police said one of the males was wearing a white short sleeve shirt with a long sleeve shirt underneath, brown short pants and hood. The second male was wearing blue jeans, a white t-shirt and a cap, police said.
The money that Bond’s family had planned to use for her college tuition will now be used to pay for a funeral. A $12,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest in the case.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office tip line at (877) 847-7432 or the Newark Police Department tip line at (877) 695-8477.
Meanwhile, the teen’s heartbroken family says they’re now planning on using the money intended for her college tuition to pay for her funeral, which is scheduled for next Wednesday.