Paterson teen killed by stray bullet while carrying groceries for his grandmother
The Paterson community is in mourning after a high school senior was struck by a stray bullet and died.
Robert Cuadra was an honor student at HARP Academy in Paterson – a school for those looking to focus on a career in health care. He also had a full scholarship waiting for him at Montclair State University.
Cuadra was outside his home on Godwin Avenue around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. He was helping his grandmother bring in the groceries when two men started to shoot at one another on the street. The teen was caught in the crossfire and was shot in the head.
Friends and family have now put up a memorial of photos, candles and messages.
“He was always a good kid. A quiet kid. Never seen him bothering anybody,” says neighbor Sylvia.
Gun violence is not unusual in some neighborhoods in the city.
“Like you see candles at every block, so you get used to hearing the bullets and stuff,” Sylvia says.
City officials have also responded to the death. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh put out a message saying. "My heart is still hurting. [Wednesday], we lost an 18-year-old with a very promising future. Tragically, he was caught in the crossfire of senseless gun violence."
The mayor also addressed the shooting at a news conference on Friday.
“There’s an ongoing investigation. We have people who are cooperating and so I may have an update for you next week on where we stand,” Sayegh says.
No arrests have been made.
Paterson School Superintendent Eileen Shafer said in a statement, “The hearts of everyone in the Paterson Public Schools community are broken by the violent loss of this promising young man.”
Her statement continued, "Robert Cuadra was a dedicated honors student who looked forward to starting the next chapter of his life in college this fall."
Cuadra’s aunt has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family pay for a proper burial and headstone.
News 12 has learned that Cuadra had been taking college courses with Rutgers University as part of the district’s dual enrollment program. He also worked at The Brownstone, a well-known catering hall.