Family of 13-year-old killed in North Las Vegas detail moments before deadly shooting

Family of 13-year-old killed in North Las Vegas detail moments before deadly shooting

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The family of a 13-year-old boy shot to death in North Las Vegas says the murder happened during a family cookout, leaving a hole in their collective hearts just as big as the 6’1” teenager who died Saturday.

John Banks, the teen’s grandfather, says he was cooking burgers for the victim, Keon Young, when he left to buy paper plates so Young could have a third helping. 

“I was grilling,” Banks said.

Young’s father came to visit his son and when Young neared the parking lot, they witnessed a car approach the area, the family said.

Someone in that vehicle and another person who jumped over the wall into the Cheyenne Villas apartment complex at Cheyenne Avenue near Simmons Street, began shooting, according to the family.

“Keon didn’t stand a chance,” Banks said.

Banks told the 8 News Now Investigators that Young was shot “squarely in the chest,” but the boy still got up and told his mother he had been hurt.

Banks said anyone else would have been killed immediately, but emergency personnel tried to save Young and brought him to UMC, where he died very soon thereafter.

“I love my grandson,” Banks said, noting that Young was often found wearing his favorite superhero costume – Spiderman. “And I know my grandson loved me.”

Banks and his wife, Terri, Young’s grandmother, spoke with the 8 News Now Investigators because they want to get out in front of any story where Young might be portrayed as a villain.

Banks said Keon was not in a gang and was not the type of young man to be mixed up with gun violence.

Keon Young, 13, killed in North Las Vegas shooting on Dec. 23, 2023.

“I don’t have no reason, no why,” Banks said. “I just know God has an angel up there with him by the name of Keon. And it’s going to leave a big void in my life.”

While police would not identify the victim’s identity, saying that they do not comment on ongoing investigations, they did acknowledge a death Saturday.

“NLVPD officers responded to the 3200 block of Fountain Falls Way, near Cheyenne Road and Simmons Street, on Saturday Dec. 23 at about 8 p.m. for a 13-year-old male who had been shot. He was transported to UMC Trauma Center and was later pronounced dead,” police said in a statement. “Detectives are investigating and there are no additional details available at this time.”

That death is the 30th homicide in North Las Vegas this year, according to the NLV police. They say 24 of those murders are already solved, and they are “currently still investigating the other six.

One of those unsolved also involves a young man who died trick or treating on Halloween. 17-year-old SeMauri Norris-Johnson was killed near Tropical and Camino Eldorado Parkways.

According to North Las Vegas Police, SeMauri and a group of teenage boys, wearing ski masks, got out of a car and approached two trick-or-treaters. That’s when shots were fired, killing SeMauri.

There will be a candlelight vigil for Young on Dec. 29 at the Desert Horizon Park. The family has also set up a GoFundMe for Young.

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