Tragedy: Deaf Teen Killed by Gunman After Friends Explained Through Text 'We Can’t Hear You'

Man holding smartphone

Tragedy: Deaf Teen Killed by Gunman After Friends Explained Through Text 'We Can’t Hear You'

An apparent case of mistaken identity led to the shocking death of DeSean Welch.

Published September 21, 2016

A deaf teen in California was killed on Friday when a gunman approached him and his friends and asked them questions. When the teen and his friends tried to explain they couldn’t hear him, the man opened fire. 

DeSean Welch, 18, and his friends were watching a football game at Rancho Verde High School when a stranger approached the group. The man started to ask the group questions, but the teens could not understand him because they are all deaf.

In an effort to communicate, one of Welch’s friends took out her phone and texted, “We are deaf. We can’t hear you. We don’t understand what you are saying to us.” The unidentified gunman then took the phone and typed out his own response.

The gunman wrote a message that said he “bangs in this hood” and proceeded to ask Welch if he knew someone who lived in Ontario.

Eventually, Welch and his friends left the football game, got into a minivan and drove away. As the group of teens pulled off, they were being followed, said Welch’s sister, Najai.

A little before 10 p.m., police officials received a report of shots fired at an intersection near the school. When police arrived, they saw evidence of a shooting, but there were no victims on the scene. Meanwhile, at a different intersection, Welch’s friends flagged down a deputy to inform him that their friend was hit by the gunfire.

Welch later died at an area hospital. His death left his entire community stunned. Najai believes the shooter had her brother confused for someone who was involved in gang activity. DeSean loved playing basketball and hoped to play professionally one day, said Najai.

No arrests have been made and Najai hopes the police find the gunman. 

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Westend61/Getty Images)


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