Teen accused of fatally shooting Leesburg High student

'I have to go visit my son in a shallow grave,' victim's mother says

LEESBURG, Fla. – A Leesburg teenager who was found shot and taken to a hospital on Thursday night has died, Leesburg police said.

The shooting happened near Laurel Oaks apartments on Sleepy Hollow Road around 5 p.m.

Police said the victim, Elian Hughes, 17, was shot once in the hand and once to the abdomen. The victim was found by a bystander, who was directed to take the victim to the Lowe's on U.S. 441 in Leesburg.

Hughes was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he underwent surgery and later died from his injuries.

Before he went into surgery, Elian Hughes told officers that the person who shot him was nicknamed "Tarzan." Officers said they knew Mohyjah King,17, went by that alias because they've had contact with him the past, according to the report.

"He provided a nickname of the suspect so that gave us a lead,"  Leesburg Police Department Lt. Joe Iozzi said. "That's certainly a significant piece of the puzzle when you are able to speak to the victim."

Police said they went back to the scene of the shooting and found witnesses who said the shooter matched King's physical description.

The witnesses said King fled to his apartment after the shooting. They saw him a short time later walking down Sleepy Hollow Road rubbing pepper on his hands. When they asked what the pepper was for, King replied "It's for the dogs," the affidavit said.

Police said they found a single Nike slide sandal at the scene of the shooting and a live round of ammunition. The matching sandal was found at King's mother's apartment, according to the report.

King returned to the apartment while officers were there awaiting a search warrant. His mother said he had dreadlocks in his hair just before the shooting, but had cut them off before returning to the apartment, the report said.

Police arrested King on multiple charges.

Elian Hughes' mother, Alana Hughes, said she's trying to understand the senseless violence that claimed her son's life.

"They took my child for what? Why? Why Lord, did they take my child from me?" she asked in agony. 

She said she feels no sympathy for King or his family.

"You took my child away from me, do you understand me? Your mom and them can send you money and everything else in the commissary. I have to go visit my son in a shallow grave," Alana Hughes said. 

The school district issued a statement saying that grief counselors would be available for students and faculty. 

"Leesburg High School and the entire Lake County Schools family is deeply saddened to have learned of this tragedy. We are mourning the loss and will have grief counselors at Leesburg High School who will be available for any student or faculty member who needs their services," district spokeswoman Sherri Owens said.

"We will support other schools in the district who might need assistance as well. We are also working with law enforcement in their investigation of this case, and we encourage others who might be aware of any of the details to do the same."

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