Vigil for man killed in possible mistaken identity shooting

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azfamily.com

PHOENIX -- Friends and family with gather this afternoon for a candlelight vigil to honor a murder victim.

Candlelight vigil to be held

Bilal Russell, 25, was shot to death on Jan. 14 at this South Phoenix home.

A former star basketball player and South Mountain High School and a graduate of Howard University in Washington, Russell had recently been accepted to law school.

Police are continuing to investigated the shooting, but believe it might have been a case of mistaken identity.

Investigators do not think the incident was a random case of violence, but they do not think Russell was the intended target.

Russell had just moved into the home where he was shot only a few days before he was killed.

Police think it's possible the suspects were looking for somebody who lived their before.

The vigil for Russell will be held at 4:30 p.m. at 519 W. Euclid in Phoenix.

Funeral services are set for Saturday.

ORIGINAL STORY: Mistaken identity possible cause in fatal shooting

PHOENIX -- Police are searching for the suspects in a deadly late night shooting in South Phoenix.

It happened at about 10:00 Wednesday night near Third Avenue and Baseline Road.

It started with a report of shots fired. When police arrived on the scene, they found a man who had been shot to death right outside a home.

Police have identifed the victim as Bilal Russell.

Dr. Larry Russell, the victim's father, spoke to 3TV and said he doesn't know why his son was killed.

Bilal Russell, 25, was a basketball standout at South Mountain High School and later at Howard University.

"They're not telling me much other than he was shot multiple times," Dr. Russell told 3TV's Javier Soto. "He had to actually jump through a window trying to save his life, and they just shot him down like a dog. They killed my son. I don't know what happened."

Witnesses reported seeing two vehicles leaving the area. Investigators found an abandoned car not far from the scene and believe that it might be connected to the shooting.

Police do not have much in the way of suspect information, but they have said that they're looking for two Hispanic men who were wearing dark clothing.

Russell said he does not think his son was connected to the suspects. He believes the shooters were looking for somebody else.

Investigators believe this was not a random act of violence. A previous resident at the address may have been the intended target. The victim moved into the house only a few days before the shooting.

Bilal Russell had just been accepted to law school and was getting ready to head back East to attend next week's inauguration.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6141 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.