LORAIN — Two men wanted in connection with the shooting death of a Lorain teen are in custody.
Lorain police issued warrants for complicity to felonious assault for Benjamin Decost Jr., 20, and Dale Johnson, 21, Monday evening. The pair were arrested Tuesday.
Decost and Johnson’s arrests came the same day as a car wash to raise funds for the teen whose death they were allegedly involved in.
Eduardo Aaron Vasquez Jr., 16, was shot about 12:15 a.m. Thursday in the 500 block of Washington Avenue. He later died at Mercy Health hospital.
In the days since his death, aunt Nicole Cromer said the family has experienced an outpouring of support from the teen’s friends, teachers and community members.
Some of that support has been in donations of food or funds toward the boy’s funeral expenses; some was in people rolling up their sleeves for a car wash at the AutoZone on Broadway Avenue from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.
To the family’s surprise, dozens of supporters helped wash at least 25 cars in the business’ parking lot, flagging down passersby with handmade signs featuring pictures of Vasquez from the sidewalk.
“It’s amazing,” she said of the volunteers Tuesday afternoon. “We had big turnouts when we had candlelight vigils and released balloons and it’s just, it helps ease the pain.”
Looking up at the sky, Cromer said the forecast had called for rain, but “Bubby” — the family’s name for him — was looking out for them.
She and her mother — Vasquez’s grandmother — Patricia Cromer, joked that they weren’t supposed to call him that in front of his friends or at school, where he was better known as Aaron or “A-Ron.” But no matter what they called him, he was the family’s light, she said.
He loved fishing and hunting — elated when he got a deer on his first hunting trip with his dad and the elder Eduardo Vasquez didn’t. He knew how to clean and butcher his own meat, filleting fish himself whenever he caught it. When he wasn’t at the pier at Hot Waters marina, he rode his bike, skateboarded or played video games.
His family was important to him, Cromer said, always ending phone calls and family get-togethers by telling everyone he loved them.
“He was definitely big on family,” she said. “Around for every holiday, any get-together. He was loved by many. I can’t say that I have a bad story, you know. ...
“There was a Christmas we played football outside. He’d just got the football for Christmas and jammed his finger as soon as he threw the ball and it got tossed back to him.”
She added, “Anything my nephew did was a memory.”
Cromer, being the baker in the family, she said he would ask her to make him German chocolate cake — regardless of how close it was to his almost-Halloween birthday.
Vasquez was going into his junior year at Summit Academy in Lorain. A number of his teachers came out to share memories of the teen and help wash cars.
Katie Castenir, who teaches sixth through eighth grade, said Vasquez always said hi to her — going out of his way to brighten her day when she was in a bad mood. He was a goof in class, knowing just the right questions to get them all off topic, but was always ready to help his classmates.
He used to say he didn’t need to learn writing because he was going to go into construction like his dad, she said. Lisa Kozak, his martial arts teacher at Summit, and sixth-grade teacher Michelle Gilmore shared similar words, saying the boy “just had a way about him.”
Family will receive friends from 10 a.m. Thursday at Reidy-Scanlan-Giovannazzo Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2150 Broadway Ave., until services at 1 p.m.
His girlfriend and her family, they are working on a memorial cookout starting 1 p.m. Saturday at Word of Life Church, 3008 Grove Ave.
Donations are being taken via a GoFundMe account to help defray funeral costs. As of Wednesday morning it had raised almost $2,500 of its $7,200 goal.
Cromer said the family has started the hashtag #JusticeForBubby, and they are heartened to hear there are suspects in his death. She said he didn’t ask for any problems or get into trouble — she never expected her nephew to die from gun violence.
“Such a short lifespan he had, and I think that’s what hurts us the most is that he was so young,” she said. “Nobody deserves it, nobody. I just wish guns were just not even here, to be honest with you. It’s just very hard for us.”