FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Neighbors are learning more about the 13-year-old boy who was found dead with a gunshot wound in a Federal Way neighborhood park.
13-year-old A.J. Brown was a middle school student in Shoreline. Police are trying to determine how he was killed miles from home and who might be responsible.
The crisis has gripped the community around 20th Avenue South. On Friday, neighbors were seen leaving flowers to mourn the child’s death.
"He was special," said Brown family friend Robin Lyons, who told FOX 13 News he met the boy at church several years ago. Learning the child was the victim of homicide broke his heart.
Shoreline schools identified Brown as their student and the victim of gun violence.
Federal Way Police say someone discovered the boy’s body in the park earlier this week. Exactly how the child wound up so far from home and injured has not been released by police.
Last month, the King County Prosecutor said through quarter 3 of this year, authorities received more than 1,000 reports of gunfire with 73 fatalities. Most of those victims are youth. Non-profit mentorship programs like Progress Pushers attempt to reach vulnerable children, but say resources are limited.
"Our mentorship is very important to be consistent," said Progress Pushers founder Eddie Purpose. "It’s important to increase capacity but we don’t have funding to do so."
An online fundraising campaign has raised nearly $15,000 for Brown’s funeral expenses.
Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram