Riverside Poly High School freshman was shot Thursday night.
The family of a 14-year-old boy who was shot and critically injured just steps from his front door said he was trying to run away from the shooter after picking up a video game from a friend in the neighborhood.
“He was running here because the car was chasing him,” said Zion Shephard, the boy’s niece, standing in the front door of the family’s Georgia Street home.
Earlier today, Shephard said Lareanz Simmons had died this morning, but later explained he was brain dead. He has been on life-support after the 6 p.m. Thursday shooting in the residential neighborhood near Eucalyptus Avenue.
The family plans to remove him from life support this evening and to donate his organs, Shephard said. No arrests have been made, Riverside police said this afternoon.
Simmons is a Riverside Poly High School freshman who is in the ROTC program, according to friends and his family.
Poly High School is offering counseling today to students who knew the teen.
Students had planned to wear black and blue at school today as a tribute. Blue was Simmons’ favorite color.
“He wanted to go into the army. He’s funny. He’s smart. Everyone liked him at school,” Shephard said. “Next year he was going to join the football team.”
Shephard said Lareanz had a 3.0 GPA, had no gang ties or friends who were involved in gangs.
From what police can gather, a car pulled up next to the teen, a male suspect got out and shot him, Riverside police Sgt. Dan Russell said.
“We know that he was walking home when a person got out of a vehicle,” Lt. Guy Toussaint said today. “The victim took off running. The (other) person shot several times at the victim.”
Investigators believe the shooter was Hispanic and that the getaway car was a small to midsized compact, possibly tan or gray.
Charles Taylor, 59, whose family has lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years, said he was inside the house across the street from the shooting when he heard two or three gunshots. He didn’t see the car speed away and thought the shots were from a neighbor’s tools.
The neighborhood hasn’t experienced something like this since the 1980s when a gang-related drive-by shooting ended up with someone’s house riddled with bullets.
Thursday’s shooting has prompted rumors, allegations and a heightened police presence at Poly High.
“Tensions are running very high,” Toussaint acknowledged. “People are making accusations that people are carrying weapons. And police are checking out the allegations.”
“To my knowledge, no arrests have been made, and no weapons have been located.”