BELMONT (KPIX 5) — Belmont Police are searching for a homicide suspect who fatally shot a Carlmont High School football player in an elementary school parking lot.
Police are convinced the case was a targeted homicide. This was the first murder in Belmont since 2017.READ MORE: Legendary Filmmaker, Playwright, Musician Melvin Van Peebles Dies, At 89
The victim was 17-year-old Mohammad Othman from Redwood City, who was a star football player for Carlmont. The incident was reported by one of Othman’s panicked family members around 11 p.m. Monday evening.
The family knew he was at Central Elementary School and claimed that he was in trouble. When police responded to the school, Othman’s body was found, but it was already too late.
“Found him laying in the driveway. Tried to render aid, but he was pronounced dead at the scene,” said Cpt. Patrick Halleran of the Belmont Police Department. Halleran asserted that the shooter had a connection to Othman.
“This was not a random event,” he said.
At around 5:30 p.m., it was reported that Belmont Police responded to a home at 601 Blossom Ct., near Amber Lane in Pleasanton. A KPIX 5 reporter, who was already in the area, confirmed the large police activity and responded to the home.
No arrests were made after the house was searched and police wouldn’t confirm that the search was related to the Othman case.
Carlmont High School football coach Jake Messina knew Othman not only as one of his star players, but as someone he mentored; Othman clerked for the coach during the school day.
“The fact that he’s not here anymore is really difficult,” said Messina. “He was a really positive guy, a lot of fun. Always uplifting to his teammates.”
Othman was a talented defensive back and wide receiver for Carlmont. His senior season highlight tape can be viewed here.
Othman’s friends were deeply shocked and saddened by his sudden passing.
“Sitting at the lunch table without him will hit me the most,” said Sarah Honardoost.
“School just won’t be the same without him,” said Ashley Smaley behind tears.READ MORE: COVID: Oakland Teachers Demand More Testing, Better Air Filtration For Safer Schools
Carlmont High School Principal Ralph Crame wrote a message to the high school community on Tuesday, but did not identify Othman.
“I know we are all feeling the pain of losing a beloved member of our Carlmont family,” he wrote. “Although this is a difficult time for us, we know that the family is grieving and we must keep them in our thoughts and support them in any way that we can.”
As news of the Carlmont High senior and football star’s death spread, questions mounted about who would want Othman dead.
“He had two friends that he was involved with that we all told him, like, ‘Don’t get involved with them,’” Honardoost said. “He was a smart kid and I don’t know why, but he did get involved with them.”
“He was like any other teenager, had minor setbacks and issues, but nothing that would be an indicator of something like this,” said Messina.
Parents at Central Elementary School are struggling with what to tell their children.
“Breaks my heart that it happened at our school. Has nothing to do with the school, but still breaks my heart,” said Veronica Topalian, a parent at the school.
Police said they will analyze surveillance video of homes near Central Elementary to try and gain leads toward the suspect.
Carlmont High students are planning a vigil for Othman in the coming days.
Students will be back in school Wednesday from winter break, but they said it will be difficult returning without Othman, especially without any answers about why he was murdered.
“They’re, you know, they’re trying to process it,” said Messina. “I still haven’t totally processed it myself, and I’m a lot older than they are.”
“The fact that he’s not here anymore is just really difficult.”
Police have not released a description of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to get in touch with Belmont police at (650) 595-7400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.MORE NEWS: BART Official Warn of Climate Change Bringing Higher Tides, Threatening Some Stations in Future