RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - The family of one of the young people believed to have been shot and killed at Newcomb Hall in Riviera Beach on Saturday night is speaking out.
Loved ones of Andrew Joseph, 16, say they were notified by authorities on Monday evening that 'Andy' was, in fact, one of the two people who died.
It has been an incredibly emotional few days for the family of Joseph. His parents were to distraught to speak publicly, but they were joined by several other family members who said that they were both shocked and devastated by this weekend's events.
Family members say that Joseph was a student-athlete; a football player. His siblings said he was smart and funny and loved his family very much. "They took someone special away from us," said Chelsy Toussaint, Joseph's niece. "We really love him," she said.
The Joseph family also wants answers from the Riviera Beach Police Department and from Mayor Thomas Masters. They ask why city leaders are referring to this shooting as an 'isolated incident'. The family believes that it is much more than that. Investigators say a total of eight people were shot at the 'Sweet 16' birthday party at Newcomb Hall on Saturday. Six people survived, two died.
Andrew Joseph leaves behind a large family, which includes his parents, three brothers and six sisters. The family says Joseph was the youngest of those siblings. "I wish he was here with me right now," said Toussaint. "I know that he is watching over us and I love him very much."
Funeral arrangements have yet to be made.
The chief of the Riviera Beach Police Department was 'unaware' of any delay in notifying the families of the shooting victims. He said that with a sensitive case like this, it is important to make sure the correct information goes to the correct people. He also said that younger victims do not often carry much identification on them, which can slow the next of kin notification process.
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