A 13-year-old boy has died after being struck by a falling bullet that was likely shot into the air like a firework in northwest Indiana last weekend.
Noah Inman, of the 1600 block of 171st Pl. in Hammond, was pronounced dead at 2:06 p.m. Friday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
Wednesday, his former teammates on the Indiana Highland All-Stars kept his legacy alive on the baseball field. The team all wore his number and initials in addition to their own on their jerseys.
At around 9:30 p.m. on July 1, police said Inman had been playing basketball with a group of kids in the 7300 block of Harrison Ave. when he suddenly fell down.
"If the bullet came down a foot away from him he'd still be here with us," said Juan Maldonado, Inman's coach of five years. "He was the best kid. Always smiling. Had the biggest smile on his face."
Witnesses at the scene thought he may have had a seizure and called for an ambulance. Once at the hospital, officials discovered Inman had been hit by a falling bullet that was shot into the sky by someone in a nearby community.
He was flown to Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago where he died Friday.
Police said an investigation determined the bullet was "most likely fired into the air like a firework."
"The Hammond Police Department would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the Inman family," police said in a statement Sunday.
"We wish you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead, and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts," the statement continued. "Our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow. When reason fails, pray for peace. We will be praying with you."
Hammond authorities issued a reminder that it is never legal to discharge a weapon in city limits, and asked the public to call 911 to report anyone they believe is using a firearm as part of a celebration in the summer holiday season.
"He's always going to be there watching us, helping us," said teammate Tony Maldonado. "I'll never forget him."
No one is in custody in connection with the shooting, according to Hammond police, who continue to investigate.
Anyone with information on who may have fired the gunshot in the South Hammond area that struck Inman is asked to call (219) 852-2988.