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Salt Lake City Boys & Girls Club mourns the loss of teenager shot, killed over weekend

Posted at 5:14 PM, Feb 14, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The Boys and Girls Club is a getaway from the streets and violence for many kids and teens. They serve meals, provide homework help, and have lots of positive extracurricular opportunities for students.

"We know the 3 o'clock to 7 o'clock hours are the most at-risk times for youth. We know they're more likely to be victims of abuse, they're more likely to be involved in risky behavior," said Amanda Ree Hughes, the president and CEO of Boys and Girls Club Greater Salt Lake.

On Saturday night, they lost one of their own. The victim, a 17-year-old boy, was shot and killed by another teen, according to police.

The victim has not been identified by police, but the Boys and Girls Club describes him as an active participant at the Spencer Eccles Club in Salt Lake City.

"With the tragic loss of one of our own club kids, it really impacts us deeply," Hughes said. "This is their second home, we are their family, so when we lose one, it hurts us all. Our staff are grieving, our kids and teens and friends and family are grieving and hurting, so we're trying to come together to provide resources to cope."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms are the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Hughes says investing in kids and teens can help reduce violence among youth and engaging with kids to be a part of the solution.

"I think it's really important we focus on mental wellbeing, education, prevention, and positive safe places for kids to congregate, providing good alternatives for them to spend their out-of-school time," Hughes said.

There are still many unknowns about what led up to the shooting, including how the suspect got access to the gun and what the motive was. Salt Lake City Police said they could not provide any further details as of Tuesday afternoon.

Boys and Girls Club kids and staff hope to remember the victim's positivity.

"Who they are as a person... their smile, their laugh," Hughes said. "Whenever we lose somebody close to us, we want to remember those positive moments. We definitely take that and hold that in our heart."