CLEVELAND -- Cleveland police have charged a teen with aggravated murder connection with the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl on the city's west side.
The 16-year-old boy was taken into custody in the 3400 block of West 88th Street.
Investigators say the victim, Jennifer Zacarias of West 102nd Street, and the suspect knew each other. Officers on the scene say the teen confessed. The two were described as boyfriend-girlfriend.
"We are in disbelief at what's going on," said the victim's cousin, Gabriela Zacarias. "We are still bascially in shock over what happened, what's going on."
Police recovered a cell phone belonging to the victim and said the boy under arrest had been texting another girl who was advising him on how to hide evidence of the crime.
"My uncle didn't even know she had a boyfriend," Gabriela Zacarias told WKYC. "That's why it's so shocking because we did not know anything about this, family, friends."
The shooting was reported when the victim's father heard gunshots outside shortly after midnight on West 102nd Street, just north of Jasper Avenue, said Police Spokesman Sgt. Sammy Morris.
He went to check on his daughter and found she was not in her room. When the father went outside, he found her in the back yard, shot multiple times.
"They're destroyed," Gabriela said of Jennifer's parents. "It was their oldest daughter, their first daughter. They took such good care of her."
Jennifer Zacarias was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center where she later died.