‘Got to bury my baby’: Muskegon teen shot, killed

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A Muskegon mother is demanding answers after her 16-year-old son was shot and killed Saturday night.

Police say they were called to Smith Street near E. Laketon Avenue shortly after 11 p.m. on a report that someone had been shot. When officers arrived, they found the victim in an alley near the Dollar General store with a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Family confirmed the victim was Zamarian Cooper.

“I got to bury my baby, my first-born son, my only son,” a tearful Keata Bailey said Sunday evening as she stood over the spot where her son was shot.

Cooper’s family said he was walking his sister home from a party when he was hit by a bullet that they say was not meant for him.

“I’m hurting, my daughter hurting, our family going through this right now,” the victim’s grandmother Bonnie Davis said. “We don’t know why this happened.”

Davis said she was with her grandson at the hospital when he took his last breath.

“He didn’t deserve that. He didn’t deserve to be shot like that,” Davis said.

Family members say Cooper, who went by the nickname Man Man, was the kind of kid every parent prayed for.

“He played karate. He did martial arts. He plays three different saxophones and he got a scholarship to go to college and play his saxophone,” Bailey said. “And he can’t do it. He can’t do it.”

Family members also say Cooper wrote his own music and had dreams of one day becoming a police officer.

“He was going to be something. He was going to get out of Muskegon and do so much stuff with his life,” his sister Zaquia Cooper said.
 
Now the family is demanding that the shooter be held responsible. 

“They murdered an innocent kid,” family friend Lamelle Childers said. “(Bailey) shouldn’t have to bury her son. This has to end now.”

The victim’s family says they don’t want any more families to go through this kind of tragedy.

“They don’t understand the pain that the parents feel. That’s a pain deep down inside that will never be able to be healed,” Bailey said.

Cooper is survived by two sisters, his mother, grandmother and many friends. The Dollar General is accepting donations for his family.

Cooper’s family is asking community members to speak up if they know anything about what happened. Anyone with information can call police at 231.724.6750 or Silent Observer at 231.722.7463.

***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated the shooting happened outside the Dollar General store. However, police clarified Wednesday the shooting happened during a party. This story has since been corrected.***

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