What Happened Next: Rashi Anderson, the city’s 27th homicide victim of 2012

NewsWorks went back to check in on several of the stories it covered in 2012. These “What Happened Next” updates will run throughout December.

Shooting leaves one dead, one wounded; Jan. 24

The Story: On Jan. 23, police were called to the 6300 block of N. 21st St. in West Oak Lane for a reported shooting. Rashi Anderson, 17, was found lying on the street with multiple gunshot wounds. There, officers also found another victim with a gunshot wound to the thigh.

The other victim would survive. Anderson would be taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he was declared dead.

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What Happened Next? Less than a month later, police arrested 19-year-old Aaron Toole and charged him in connection with Anderson’s slaying.

NewsWorks recently spoke with Anderson’s mother Shantashi Cooper, who remained torn between sadness and anger.

“I think Aaron confessed to the murder because he found out that he was actually related to Rashi somehow through marriage,” she said. “Finding that out disturbed me.”

Christmas was difficult for Cooper, as it was the first in 17 years without her son.

“I haven’t even put up my Christmas tree,” she said last week. “This is a very stressful time for me.”

Anderson, who was home-schooled, would have graduated this past summer, according to a grieving mother who said her son was well-liked.

“Rashi was a loving person,” she said. “Through this year, I have come in contact with people that really loved and cared about my son. Kids still come see me, check on me and sit on my steps. Maybe my son touched others’ souls deeper than I thought he could.”

Drawing a tie to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Cooper said the images of a teacher’s funeral in Connecticut reminded her of her son’s memorial.

“Just like the young man who killed those children in Connecticut, my son was killed for nothing,” she said. “Just like her funeral was packed and flowing with people outside, so was Rashi’s. It was so packed that people poured out into the streets.”

According to court records, Toole’s trial is tentatively scheduled to start on Jan. 16. Police said Thursday that the Anderson case was the 27th homicide reported in 2012.

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