WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - While family members and friends mourn, an 18-year-old Salem State University student killed in a shooting Wednesday morning is being remembered as a star basketball player who contributed both on and off the court
Carl Hens Beliard grew up in Worcester. On Wednesday, his mother, his coach and even Gov. Maura Healey spoke about his impact and his loss.
“Everybody loved him,” said Beliard’s mother, Altagrace Beliard. “He was such a good kid.”
The Essex District Attorney’s Office said Carl was found inside a vehicle suffering from gunshot wounds around 1:30 a.m. after officers were called to Forest Avenue for a report of a shooting.
According to the DA’s office, Carl was pronounced dead after he was taken to Salem Hospital.
Carl’s mother, Altagrace Beliard, said basketball had been her son’s passion since he was just two-years-old. He dreamed of becoming a basketball star, his mother said. And he was determined.
“He never gave up,” Altagrace said. “No matter how hard it was, he kept pushing himself.”
Carl’s passion led him to be the only senior on his North High School state championship team last year.
Now in the wake of Carl’s death, his coach said he was feeling numb Wednesday.
Coach Al Pettway continued, saying it was tough to tell the news to Carl’s former teammates, who called each other family.
“They were in shock, ” Pettway said. “They thought I was talking about a different Carl. They repeated several times, ‘Which Carl?’ And I kind of reinforced to them that it was our Carl.”
Just a matter of months before his death, Carl and his teammates visited the Massachusetts State House, meeting Gov. Maura Healey.
Carl, at the time, was preparing to begin attending Salem State. Healey recently recalled the visit as she spoke hours after the shooting.
“It’s incredibly, incredibly sad,” she told reporters. “Heartbreaking.”
Pettway said Carl called him when he made the Salem State basketball team.
Basketball was also a bond between Carl and his 14-year-old brother, Forester Hens.
“We used to play basketball,” Hens said. “He’s the reason why I started playing basketball. I love him.”
Homicide detectives and Salem police continued to investigate through the afternoon Wednesday – at one point working in a campus parking lot as they continued to search for a suspect in this shooting.
A memorial was growing, in the meantime, at the location where Carl was shot.
Officials announced shortly after 9 p.m. that police had arrested an 18-year-old in connection with this shooting. The teen is expected to be arraigned on one charge of murder on Thursday.
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