Monday would have been Jared Anthony Flemming’s 15th birthday.
The gregarious Chaparral High School freshman probably would have spent it skateboarding at the Parkdale Community Center, where he met with friends after school.
But Jared, described by one friend as “the kind of kid nobody could hate,” was killed before he got the chance to jump on his board for a celebratory kickflip.
The teen was gunned down early Sunday morning during a birthday gathering at his adult sister’s apartment complex near Nellis Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. He was shot in the back by at least one reputed gang member who brandished a gun, Las Vegas police said.
Jared and several of his friends were trying to flee.
On Monday, about 200 friends and family members gathered to mourn Jared at the community center near U.S. Highway 95 and Boulder Highway. They sang “Happy Birthday” and lit candles in memory of the teenager who was always smiling.
“As a parent, know your babies,” said a tearful Billie Lestarge, whose 16-year-old son was Jared’s friend. “Know what they know. That way, there aren’t babies out there killing babies. Even the shooter was somebody’s baby.”
Jared’s father, Tony Flemming, spoke to the crowd and told them Jared fell victim to an evil person.
“I’m at a terrible loss,” Flemming said. “Jared wasn’t a bad kid. The problem with the situation is that a bad kid came to Jared. You all have to watch your surroundings because you never know who is out there lurking to hurt you.”
Flemming shared his memories of Jared with the crowd, telling stories about how his son honed his interests in wrestling and dancing. He’d recently developed professional aspirations for skateboarding.
Minutes after Flemming spoke, Jared’s stepmother, Kimberly Flemming received a phone call from a homicide detective. She announced that police had arrested the suspected shooter. The crowd cheered loudly.
Jacinto Rivera, a police spokesman, confirmed the arrest Monday evening but didn’t provide additional details.
“I’d like to know how much time this kid is going to get,” Tony Flemming said of the suspect. “I lost Jared forever. I’d like to see this kid spend the rest of his natural life in prison.”
Homicide Lt. Lew Roberts said Sunday that three young men between the ages of 17 and 19 went to the party when one of them pulled a gun. Jared and his friends were hanging out in a courtyard in the complex. Roberts said the suspects were gang members and Jared was not.
Roberts could not be reached for comment Monday.
Tony Flemming said Jared met with about 10 friends Saturday night. They hung out together until early the next morning, until Flemming said his son refused to allow the gang members entry to the party. That led to the shooting, Flemming believes.
Patricia Polito, a 15-year-old Chaparral freshman, said life without Jared “is going to be different.”
Desirea Roberts, a Mack Middle School student, said the fact that so many people showed up for Jared showed “He’s pretty cool.”
Jared’s father said that his son would have agreed with his friend’s sentiment.
“He would say, ‘I told you I was more popular than you.’ ”
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638.