An 8-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Prince George's County, Maryland, Tuesday night when gunfire erupted outside an apartment complex was celebrating his youth football team's victory with friends and family at the time of the "senseless" shooting.
Peyton “PJ” Evans, identified to News4 by his family, was in a relative's apartment on Brightseat Road in Landover playing a video game and eating tacos when he was fatally shot, his family told News4.
Evans was "doing what kids do after … school and football practice and living out his life," Chief of Police Malik Aziz said in a news conference Wednesday.
PJ was a dedicated youth football player with the Showcase Sharks, his mother said. He proudly wore the number 21, and the night he was killed he was celebrating a scrimmage his team had won.
"He just loved his family and he loved his friends and his teammates," PJ's mother, Tiffani Evans, said.
PJ was getting ready to start third grade and had already gone shopping for new shoes for the school year, his family said. His mom described him as a mathematician and said he had a bright future.
"That's all I had. That’s all I lived for. … I sacrificed so much in my life for that little boy, and now my son gone to some coward dudes that wanted to do some coward things instead of being a man," she said.
A group of adults were hanging out outside of an apartment complex about 8:20 p.m., when a white sedan pulled into the parking lot and a suspect began shooting at them, police said. Bullets flew through the glass doors of two apartments.
The sedan took off in an unknown direction, police said.
Aziz said the boy was not the intended target and police were looking for one suspect.
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"Turn yourself in. Be a man. Be a respectable human being if you ever were not one before. Now is the time to turn yourself in," Aziz implored the suspect at the news conference.
A suspect description was not provided.
Aziz said it was possible that others were involved.
"We are working diligently to find the people responsible for this senseless act of violence," he said.
His mom had this message for every parent:
"Y'all love on y'all's kids. … I love my son, and before my son closed his eyes - ten minutes before he closed his eyes, I said, 'Boy, I love you,'" she said.
"Y'all keep praying for us, man, because we need it, man. Everybody in here hurting."
PJ once met Washington Football Team defensive star Chase Young. On Wednesday, Young posted a photo of him and PJ on Instagram with the caption, "Violence has to be stopped…RIP young superstar!"
"We want to bring justice to the family," Aziz said Tuesday night. "Our hearts are heavy."
This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.