15-year-old boy shot to death in Hammond

- A 15-year-old boy was shot to death outside his home early Thursday in northwest Indiana.

John Lee Hennington was shot about 1:30 a.m. outside his home in the 1100 block of Cleveland Street in Hammond, according to Hammond police and the Lake County coroner’s office.

Hennington’s sister told officers at the scene that her brother had been outside on the phone at the time of the shooting, police said. She was in the living room and heard what she thought was a vehicle going fast down the street.

The sister then heard what sounded like squealing tires, then a gunshot, police said. She told her mother, who subsequently called police.

Hennington was taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond, where he was pronounced dead at 2:06 a.m., the coroner’s office said. His death was ruled a homicide.

Friends and family of the 15-year-old gathered outside his home and prayed.

Many of the people at the vigil were teenagers, just like Hennington. They’re remembering him as the guy with a big smile.

"John was a happy person, he was funny,” a friend said.

Hennington just finished his freshman year at Hammond High School. His family says he was in the ROTC and was trying to turn his life around.

A friend who just spoke with him on Wednesday says he was determined to make that happen.

"He had just told me how he wanted to just do better, and how he was doing better. And he just wanted to go back to school and get his grades together. And it's just so sad that it happened so fast,” a friend said.

Friends wouldn't discuss what may have led to the shooting. Instead, they wanted to remember the life of their friend taken too soon.

“He 15. He didn't have nothing to do with nothing. John was a good person, I just don't understand how people could be so heartless,” a friend said.

Anyone with information on the shooting should call Detective Sgt. John Suarez at (219) 852-2981.

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