GARY, Ind. — The parents of a 16-year-old Gary teen who was shot and killed while trying to sell his Xbox spoke out Thursday, as the investigation continues.
Kelly Arroyo and John Peluyera, the parents of Johnny Peluyera, said the whole thing is still incomprehensible.
“I especially plead to all parents: Hold your babies. Tell them every day you love them and you are proud of them,” Arroyo said.
The teen was with his father when they met up with two men near 51st and Maryland streets to sell the teen’s Xbox. They arranged the meeting using an online sales app.
The boy’s father said he knew something wasn’t quite right. He spotted a gun and told his son to just give the game system to the men, which he did, but one of them still shot him. The teen was shot in the back as he tried to run back to his father’s car.
He was pronounced dead shortly after.
His mother said she can’t believe her son is gone. She said he was a wonderful kid who loved video games and cars. He had just gotten his license and was about to get his own Trans Am. The teen didn’t have a chance to drive the new blue car his parents had just bought for him.
His father said he can’t get the image of his son’s death out of his head. He said it’s all very hard to process.
“I’ve lost many nights of sleep since then,” he said. “It’s like a DVD, over and over, pause, play, over and over. It’s something you won’t overcome very easily. Like my wife said, it’s going to be a road of recovery, but it’s going to very long and very rough.”
Johnny was one of three children. He leaves behind a little brother and an older sister battling stage 4 cancer.
“I want to say something to the person who did this to my son: I want you to know that you took away my laughter. You took away my best friend. The relationship that we had was incredible,” Arroyo said.
The men were described as two African American males in their late teens to early 20s. No further description was provided. Police believe the men are from the area, and are asking for the public’s assistance.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.
Police want the public to remember to always meet at a safe place — like a police department’s parking lot — when dealing with online sales.
Peluyera was set to be a junior at Merrillville High School in the fall.
The parents said they have received condolences from around the country, and the world, through the online Xbox community.
The investigation is ongoing.