Family of teen slain on Mother’s Day condemn violence, social media posts

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NEWARK, N.J (PIX11) -- Burnouts and blood marked the pavement where 15-year-old Al-Shakeem Woodson was gunned down on Mother's Day in Newark. A family member said Monday that the teen was an innocent bystander.

“I’m just sorry that he’s gone. He’s a good kid. I mean I’m still in shock they would do this to him," said Reverend Keith Oden, the victim's cousin.

Images posted to social media show Woodson lying in the middle of the street, with police standing over him. His family says this is not the way they want him to be remembered. They remember a young man who had a bright future and loved football.

He was gunned down on 19th Avenue and South 16th Street several hours after a Mother's Day motorcycle festival was shut down by the Newark Police.

"There were two groups that were here and for public safety and the well being of the families and the kids and the mothers that came out we thought it was safe to shut it down early," said Harold Carmen, President of the Newark Knights. He says the Knights have been organizing the Mother's Day bike festival for 43 years and that it's always brought the community together.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka visited the shooting scene on Monday where he said the bike festival had gotten out of control and left a mess in the streets that the city had to clean up.

"We don’t want it in Newark anymore," said Mayor Baraka at the scene of the shooting Monday, "They should go have it in south Jersey or somewhere else. I don’t want to invite this on any other community but the people who organized this don’t even live in Newark. They should probably go organize it where they live at."

Staff from Newark's neighborhood outreach team also visited the site Monday. Mayor Baraka wants to tear down several homes in the block where Woodson was shot, in an effort to revitalize and clean up the neighborhood. Mayor Baraka also wants all event permits to come across his desk in the future. He said if the bike festival event permit had required his signature, he would not have approved.

Mayor Baraka promised arrests in the shooting death of teen Al-Shakeen Woodson. While the, Newark Knights offered their sympathies and said their door is open to the boy's family.

“Our sincere condolences go to him, his friends and family," said Carmen, "As for the mayor, we’ll sit down and hash that out at a later time. This is a good event and it was over with 2-3 hours before the call came in for police assistance."

The slain teen’s family is asking those who were at the yesterday’s bike fest to come forward with information.

“I just feel that this kid had a promising future," said Oden, "If there is anybody who knows anything, come to the news reporters or call the police hotline and let them know what happened because it's just not fair. This young man didn’t deserve to die like that.”