The mother of an Indiana teenager who was shot dead while trying to sell an Xbox has spoken about her ‘unbelievable heartbreak’.
Kelly Arroyo said that her son Johnny Peluyera, 16, would be a ‘boy forever missed and a man the world will miss’, as she read an emotional statement to media on Thursday.
This came after the arrest of two males aged 17 and 18, in connection with the boy’s murder, after search warrants were issued.
The teenagers, from Gary and Crown Point, who remain unnamed, are expected to face charges this week, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr told The Times of Northwest Indiana.
Arroyo said in a statement to the paper: ‘Johnny was a funny, helpful, respectful person and I am so proud to know that our son carried those qualities in the world and made a positive impact.
‘The harder days are still to come because we have the what ifs and what he would be like as a grown man.
‘Johnny will be a boy forever missed and a man the world will miss.
‘We truly are speechless and in complete awe that the story of his life has gone this viral and I pray that in our tragedy and unnecessary heartbreak that lessons can be learned for all.
‘I especially plea to all parents, hold your babies, tell them everyday you love them and you are proud of them.’
The family revealed they have ‘struggled to hold it together’ and were thankful to family and friends for their support.
Peluyera, from Merrillville, was killed on June 12, as he tried to sell his gaming console to two prospective buyers who had connected with the teen online.
His father, John Peluyera, had driven him near to the corner of 51st Avenue and Maryland Street, in Glen Park, to sell the Xbox.
The deceased’s uncle Joe Bernacet claimed the teen wanted to buy a new iPhone with the proceeds from the sale.
Peluyera and his father had driven to two homes for the teens to test the console, before the father noticed one of them had a gun, Bernacet stated.
‘He shouted just let him have it, it’s not worth it,’ Bernacet added.
The boy’s father told him to run back to the vehicle, but by the time he had made it to the passenger seat, he had been struck by a bullet.
After getting into the car, his father drove away and called 911. Upon reaching the scene, first responders said Peluyera showed no signs of life at around 6.50pm.
Since their son’s death, Arroyo told to The Times, that her husband John had been ‘on the edge’ and had gotten ‘little to no sleep.’
John Peluyera said: ‘My son had a big bright future ahead of him that you shattered.
‘You took not only a soul, but you took half of my soul that nothing will ever fulfill again.’
Sheriff Martinez told the paper that authorities want to try the 17-year-old as an adult for the role in Peluyera’s death.
They family fear that the two suspects will receive a ‘slap on the wrist’ due to being so young and hopes the court won’t let them down.
Arroyo told the Times: ‘I hope they do what is necessary.’
‘I feel bad that they chose to lose their lives like this so young.
‘They aren’t going to lose it the way my son did, but it’s over for them, and it’s so sad.
‘I’m just glad they are off the streets and can’t do this to anyone else’s family.’
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with cremation costs and has received $5,680 in donations so far.
In a post on the site, it was explained that the family were tight on money due to struggling to take care of her ‘bedridden mother’ and her daughter who is ‘fighting her battle with cancer.’