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Mother mourns loss of 13-year-old son gunned down in Hornerstown

A mother is mourning the loss of her son, three days after he was shot and killed in the Hornerstown section of the city.{ } (Photo: Courtesy of Lajanda Byrd)

JOHNSTOWN - A mother is mourning the loss of her son, three days after he was shot and killed in the Hornerstown section of the city.

Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees said 13-year-old Marquise Martin was found dead Saturday night on a porch on Oak Street.

Lees said his death marks the 11th homicide in the county this year.

Martin's mother, Lajanda Byrd, met with a 6 News reporter Tuesday to talk about her son. She said he had nothing to do with the recent violence happening in the city.

Six days before Martin's death, police said, 18-year-old Tavion Williamson was gunned down two blocks away.

"People were saying he (Martin) was involved in his (Williamson's) murder and he wasn't. He was at home. He didn't leave until after everything was done. He was 13. He didn't deserve to be gunned down like that," said Byrd.

Byrd said Martin, better known to family and friends as "Bam" was walking home from Sheetz with friends on Saturday when shots were fired.

"When it happened, he was running down this street. I know he was running home and I know he was scared and I know he wanted me and I couldn't do anything," said Byrd.

Police said a weapon was recovered at the scene. They are still working to put together the pieces of what happened.

"Bam was your typical 13-year-old. He liked snacks. He liked hanging with his friends, just being a kid," said Byrd.

Police said they believe Martin's death was in retaliation to what happened to Williamson.

"We have good reason to believe these homicides are connected. We are working these investigations heavily," said Chief Robert Johnson of the Johnstown Police Department.

A vigil for Martin is planned for Friday at 4 p.m. on Oak Street.

A GoFundMe page has been made to help with funeral expenses.


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