Family, friends mourn after 18-year-old gunned down in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, MA (WHDH) — Police are investigating the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old man in Lawrence early Wednesday morning.

Authorities said the victim was found near the intersection of Forest and Crescent streets at about 1:45 a.m.

Police identified the teenager as Juan Espinal, a high school senior, who was loved by many friends and family.

“I want people to know that this is not okay, and it happens a lot,” said Juan’s cousin, Julissa Espinal.

Julissa said Juan loved basketball. His friends said he was a humble man. Many people, in tears, gathered at the crime scene to light candles in honor of Juan.

“He wasn’t a kid who was out there looking for trouble,” Jesus Rivera said. “He was trying to take care of his mom. He didn’t deserve what happened.”

The Essex district attorney said no suspects are in custody.

One neighbor reported hearing seven or eight gunshots. Investigators collected evidence from the neighborhood.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said he’s concerned with the escalating level of violence in the city.

Police told 7’s Steve Cooper that Juan was killed in an ambush-style attack and that it was not random.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

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