GARY, Ind. - A 16-year-old Indiana boy died Wednesday when he and his father were robbed during an arranged meetup with someone they’d met through an online sales app, according to multiple reports.
Gary police and the Lake County Coroner’s Office told the Chicago Sun-Times that Johnny Peluyera, of Merrillville, Indiana, and his father had arranged to sell an Xbox. After arriving at the meetup location, they were robbed by two men, the newspaper reported.
Authorities responded around 6 p.m. Wednesday to reports of the shooting, which took place near the intersection of 51st Avenue and Maryland Street, according to the Post-Tribune. In a statement obtained by the northwest Indiana newspaper, Gary police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said Johnny was reportedly sitting in the front passenger side of his father’s vehicle when he was shot in the back. The robbers fled the area and remained at-large Friday.
“I just completely don’t understand,” Johnny’s mother, Kelly Arroyo, told WGN-TV. “I don’t understand how somebody – over an Xbox – can take somebody’s life.”
Arroyo described her son to WGN-TV as a “wonderful kid who loved video games and cars.” She said he had recently gotten his driver’s license.
Johnny is survived by his parents and a sister, according to WGN-TV.
Gary police told the Post-Tribune that online buyers and sellers should only agree to meet in public places, such in a police station parking lot.
Authorities continue to investigate.