Teen charged with murder in Muskegon shooting death

Muskegon County
An undated booking photo of TJ Purnell.

An undated booking photo of TJ Purnell.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A 17-year-old was arraigned Friday in connection to a shooting at a teen party in Muskegon that killed a 16-year-old boy.

TJ Purnell is charged with open murder in the death of Zamarian Cooper.

Cooper was shot in the head late on Saturday, Aug. 17. Officers found him lying in an alley off Smith Street near E. Laketon Avenue, close to a Dollar General store. He later died at the hospital.

Zamarian Cooper
An undated courtesy photo of Zamarian Cooper.

Cooper’s family said he was walking his sister home from the party when he was hit by the bullet.

In a news conference in August, investigators said that an argument erupted at the party, leading to gunfire from at least four shooters. Cooper happened to be in the line of fire.

“He was not a target. He was a victim of circumstance,” said Muskegon Police Chief Jeffrey Lewis at the August news conference. “Because when these four shooters were firing, it was relatively indiscriminate. And I believe he was just in the line of that fire.”

Authorities are urging people with information about the deadly shooting to contact police at 231.724.6750 or Silent Observer at 231.722.7463.

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