BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — 26-year-old Joel Northrup of Kenmore died after he was shot playing basketball in Delaware Park Monday night. Kareema Morris said Northrup was a second son to her. Her son and Northrup had been best friends since childhood.
"This is not who he was," Morris said, "He was an angel. He loved to have a good time. He enjoyed living. He did anything he could for his kids. He was an amazing father. He would have not wanted to leave here without his kids growing up with him."
Morris said Northrup was a dedicated father and a safe haven for many of his peers. He had two young children and one on the way.
"He lost his parents at a young age. He would have never wanted his kids to live without him. This is just beyond a tragedy," Morris said.
Pastor Tim Newkirk, with GYC Ministries, said he also knew Northrup. He said Northrup was a provider to his family and peers.
Pastor Newkirk said the fact that a gun was brought to the Delaware Park basketball courts is a sign it is way too easy for people to get their hands on a weapon.
"Why are these guns so prone to being places of parks, backyard parties, birthday parties, swimming pools, fun festivities. These guns are showing up all over the place. That's the problem we're trying to conquer now. Where are all these illegal guns coming from and how are they so easy to get?" Pastor Newkirk said.
He said the person willing to pull the trigger in a park is plagued by evil.
"They're plagued by demonic spirits. They're plagued by evil. Connections to different things that are causing them to act out what they have inside. They are emotionally fearless," Pastor Newkirk said.
Northrup's family is not releasing any photos of him at this time.
Buffalo police said they are actively searching for a suspect.