Police say they suspect foul play in the death of a teenager whose body was found this past weekend in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood.
Authorities say a man was walking his dogs Saturday when he discovered the body of 13-year-old Ameer Al Shammari in an overgrown area, several blocks from where the boy lived.
Late Monday afternoon, his death was officially rule a homicide.
Al Shammari, a a seventh grade student at Waterfront Elementary School, was an Iraqi refugee whose family came to the U.S. about 18 months ago. Members of the Iraqi community had been searching for him since he went missing Friday night.
Police have released few details on the boy's death. No one has been arrested. It is believed he may have been pursuing thieves who had stolen his iPhone last Friday.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says he spoke to the boy's family through an interpreter Monday morning.
"The family, obviously, is very sad. They're heartbroken. And I shared with them that the community is heartbroken, as well. This is a terrible loss of a young teenager and it hurts all of us," Brown said.
"They want the person responsible for this to be brought to justice."
Brown called the case an active investigation, with police working "around the clock." He is asking anyone with information to contact the city's confidential tipline at 847-2255, saying police will follow all leads.
Buffalo School District officials released a statement regarding the boy's death, saying they are deploying the District Crisis Team to Waterfront Elementary to provide counseling to students and staff.
The YWCA of WNY said Monday it is accepting donations on behalf of the boy's family and the Iraqi American Society. Contributions can be made through the organization's website or via postal mail.