Newark man arrested in death of Maplewood teenager


A 20-year-old man from Newark has been arrested for the murder of Moussa Fofana, a Maplewood high school student, beloved in the community and known for his dreams of playing professional football, prosecutors said on Friday.

Yohan Hernandez was arrested Thursday evening and charged with murder, aggravated assault and weapons related offenses in connection with the fatal shooting in Fofana on June 6. The victim was shot as he was crossing the grounds of the Underhill Sports Complex in Maplewood on his way to a friend’s house. , according to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office and Fofana’s mother, Hawa Fofana.

“My family felt great relief this afternoon upon learning of the arrest in the shooting death of our beloved son,” Fofana said on Friday. “We would like to express our gratitude to law enforcement and our entire community for their commitment to justice over the past two months.”

Previously: Prosecutors seek help in fatal shooting of teenage Maplewood football player

The death of Moussa, an 18-year-old from Columbia High School, stunned residents of South Orange and Maplewood, both served by Columbia. Residents donated money to increase the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction for the shooting to $ 50,000.

Officials did not say what led them to Hernandez and could not immediately confirm if it was a tip.

“The investigation is ongoing, but during the investigation we have received information and leads from the community,” said Kathy Carter of the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

On the night of his death, Moussa left home to join friends to watch a fight on TV at a friend’s house.

Fofana said her son’s friends are all “good kids” who have known each other since they were little, and that she never worried when her son left the house to hang out: “He didn’t there was no fear in my mind, ”she said, recalling that evening.

At around 9:30 p.m., as Moussa was crossing the field with friends, shots were fired. He and a friend of his were beaten up, prosecutors said. The friend sustained a non-fatal leg injury, but Moussa’s injuries were severe.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:24 p.m.

Moussa Fofana and his mother Hawa on the occasion of his 18th birthday, a few weeks before he was shot on June 6, 2021.

Dreams cut short

Moussa was born on May 22, 2003, but until Fofana settled down with her own business, she sent her son to live with his grandmother in Liberia when he was 5 years old.

It was there that he developed his consuming interest in football.

Fofana’s brother played the sport and took his nephew to training. The young boy began to call his mother in the United States to tell her that he had found his calling.

When he returned home and entered Maplewood Middle School, his mother enrolled him in the sport. After that, football was all he could think of. Everything Moussa wanted to do.

For him, it was both a love of the game, but also a path to the good life. He often reminded his mother that he would “get out of it” and “take care of her”.

“He had this self-confidence and growing up his dream became my dream too,” said Fofana. “We supported him. Everyone who loved him around him also supported him.”

He got down to work, trained like an addiction, and played for the Columbia high school boys’ soccer team, the Cougars, donning the No.25 jersey.

During an interview last month, Fofana said investigators had not told him what they thought happened and whether his son was a target or just hit by a stray bullet.

“They didn’t tell me that, but that’s how I feel,” she said, referring to the direct ball.

Nicholas Katzban is a last minute reporter for To receive the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @nicolaskatzban

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