- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey high school basketball team has paid tribute to a teammate killed in a random street shooting.

Saturday was to have been the first home game that 14-year-old Nazerah Bugg played with the girls’ team at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson. But instead, it became more of a memorial service for the point guard who was killed in a Sept. 20 shooting that left another teenage girl wounded.

The Record (https://bit.ly/1KcgxYT) reports that Nazerah’s basketball jersey - number 3 - was draped over a chair on the team’s bench, and it will remain there the rest of the season. The teen was killed before she ever got to play for the team.

Kennedy won the game, beating Passaic County Technical Institute 41-31.

Prosecutors have said the slaying of Bugg was not gang-related. They have attributed the shooting to ongoing neighborhood disputes in Paterson’s 1st and 4th wards.

Nazerah’s death came about two months after another Paterson girl, 12-year-old Genesis Rincon, was killed when a stray bullet struck her while she was riding a scooter to a family gathering.

The deaths spurred many residents to call on local and state leaders to do more to help end the ongoing violence in the city.

Four men have been charged with murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, along with other individual charges, and all four could face life sentences if they are convicted. Three juveniles are also charged in the case.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com

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