Deaf Teen Killed by Gunman After Friend Explained in Text: ‘We Can’t Hear You’

DeSean Welch, 18, died at the hospital after being shot by an unidentified gunman.

DeSean Welch
DeSean Welch KCAL9 screenshot

The family of a deaf teen killed by an unidentified gunman is demanding justice and hoping that the killer is found, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Najai Welch says that her brother, DeSean Welch, 18, had gone with some of his friends to watch a football game at Rancho Verde High School Friday when a gunman approached them and began asking questions.

A friend pulled out a cellphone and wrote a text explaining to the man that they were all deaf and could not understand him.

“We are deaf. We can’t hear you. We don’t understand what you are saying to us,” Najai said the text read.

According to Najai, the gunman took the phone and replied that he “bangs in this hood,” asking DeSean if he knew someone who lived in Ontario. The gunman then fired into the teens’ vehicle, hitting DeSean.

Local authorities received reports of shots fired near the school and arrived at 9:56 p.m. Friday, finding evidence of a shooting, but no victims.

According to the Times, around the same time, DeSean’s friends flagged down authorities in another area, asking for help.

Najai told reporters that she believes the shooting was a case of mistaken identity, describing her brother as a good kid who was never involved with gangs or anything criminal. DeSean loved sports, particularly basketball, and wanted to play professionally some day.

DeSean Welch
DeSean Welch

“My brother didn’t deserve that,” she said.

DeSean was a varsity basketball player for the California School for the Deaf Riverside. News of his death shocked the school, with the school’s alumni association blasting the act of violence that killed him.

“We do not support any violence toward anyone regardless of their backgrounds, their actions or their characters,” the group said in a statement. “We believe anything can be resolved or find solutions. Unfortunately, it did not happen with DeSean Welch.”

Police are still searching for the killer and are urging anyone who knows any details to call homicide detectives at 760-393-3525.

“I just want him to turn himself in,” Najai said of the gunman.


Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Comments