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Family of 13-year-old Omaha boy killed Wednesday share memories: 'Always smiling, happy'

Posted at 7:22 PM, Sep 29, 2022

OMAHA. NEB. (KMTV) — Wednesday night near 29th and Shirley Streets, 13-year-old Lenny Rodriguez was found with a gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital where he died.

Thursday, family came to the scene to remember Lenny, telling 3 News Now stories and memories of who Lenny was to them.

Remembered as a funny, loving little boy, an 8th-grader at Ralston Middle School.

"Lenny was always a bouncy little kid, always smiling, happy," Kristine Williams, Lenny's grandmother said.

Thursday afternoon, Lenny's family put up a memorial, lighting 13 candles, placing a cross with his name and picture on it, and praying in his memory.

"Just honoring him, just honoring him, where he laid, just that," Williams said.

The picture on the cross was taken by his aunt on Wednesday.

Lenny comes from a big family and is one of 35 cousins, his aunt told us off camera. She and her siblings raised their kids like siblings rather than cousins.

"They are all very tight, they are all very tight. They all love each other very much. He loved his mom with his whole heart. He's got an older brother was always there for him. He's got a little brother — they just love each other," Williams said.

His family is unsure of what happened Wednesday night.

"Hopefully, they find whoever did this or what it all came down to, but it's all senseless. We all need to stop," Williams said.

Lenny and some of his family live in the neighborhood but told 3 News Now they were unsure of the reason he was in the area where he was found.

As the family grapples with what happened, his grandmother hopes Lenny will be remembered as a good kid who was loving.

"Use this as an example. Our kids are out here. They need love, they need support and they need Jesus in their heart because it's just coming, it's not good, it's not good," Williams said.

Ralston Public Schools sent this message to families in the District on Thursday morning:

"We want to make you aware of a loss affecting Ralston Public Schools. Lenny Rodriguez, an 8th grader at Ralston Middle School, died last night. Our deepest sympathies go to his family.

The death of someone we know impacts us in different ways. School and District counselors are available for students and staff who need support services.

We are also reminding you about additional services available through the District.  Families, staff, and students can call the Safe2Help School Hotline at 531-299-SAFE (7233) at any time. The Arbor Family Employee Assistance Program is also available. Their 24-hour hotline is 402-330-0960 or 1-800-922-7379.  You can also reach them through their website at www.arborfamilycounseling.com."     

Omaha Police are investigating, if you have any information contact the OPD homicide unit or call Omaha Crime Stoppers.

RELATED: Omaha Police investigate late Wednesday homicide of 13-year-old boy

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