The St. Clair County teen who was fatally shot Monday was someone who always welcomed others with open arms, one of his friends said.
Cole Wierciszewski, 18, was shot in the chest Monday evening in unincorporated St. Clair County, just outside Belleville. He was taken to Memorial Hospital by a friend at 5:17 p.m., and died there about half an hour later, said St. Clair County Sheriff's Department Capt. Bruce Fleshren. The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was activated to investigate Wierciszewski's death.
Few details have been released about his death.
Mackenzie Wright, who went to school with Wierciszewski, said he was a sweet and caring person who was the "life of the party."
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"He was the one really kind heart that you could never forget," Wright said. "I could have never imagined this. It was a surprise to everyone when we heard about it."
Wierciszewski was diagnosed with cancer in middle school, and ended up beating it, Wright said. He liked the bald look so much, he decided to keep it.
Back in middle school, Wright said, their friend group liked to hang out at Fun Spot Skating Center every Friday night. It's where her favorite memories of Wierciszewski are — cracking jokes and hanging out together.
Wierciszewski's cousin, Crystal Wierciszewski, said the family is "absolutely devastated," and that Cole will be missed deeply. Wierciszewski's mother declined to comment, but sent a small statement.
"He was my baby," she said. "I will always love him. I just want to know what happened."
Police say Wierciszewski was shot at 141 Paulette Drive near Belleville. As of Thursday, no one had been charged.
"We are still looking for any associates of the victim who may have knowledge of Cole Wierciszewski's murder," Fleshren said. He said he couldn't speculate about a motive or about how many people may have been involved.