AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A 17-year-old boy was murdered inside the JCPenney at Town Center at Aurora Friday. Friends confirm Nathan Poindexter was killed after a gunman opened fire on the upper floor of the JCPenney. A suspect in the case was not identified or arrested at the time of the shooting.

Nathan Poindexter

Nathan Poindexter (credit: Kenneth Crowley)

Poindexter was a member of the Crowley Foundation’s leadership program, according to Kenneth Crowley. With the Poindexter family’s blessing, Crowley told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas the loss would impact many young men in the community.

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“He was a leader amongst his peers. The rest of the young men, and his brotherhood, looked up to him,” Crowley said.

Crowley mentored Poindexter.

“When you saw him, his smile lit up the room it was infectious, it was contagious,” he said.

The teenager was part of a program called Young Kings of Denver which Crowley founded to inspire and uplift young men of color.

(credit: CBS)

Crowley said he was in the hospital with friends and family of Poindexter shortly after he was pronounced deceased. He described the room as emotional, as many mourned the sudden loss.

“He was a leader amongst his peers, the rest of the young men in his group or in his brotherhood as we like to call it, looked up to him.”

While the family mourned, police swarmed Town Center at Aurora. The mall was placed on lockdown, forcing some to take shelter in stores. Business outside the JCPenney returned to normal shortly after.

(credit: CBS)

As police searched for a suspect, Crowley was left to gather his thoughts on the loss.

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“Man, we need Nate. We need Nate, the community needs Nate, we had big plans for him, he had potential.”

Crowley was in the process of preparing a documentary about Young Kinds of Denver featuring Poindexter, now his story will have to be told in a different way.

“He had potential and that’s what we’ll miss most is the world being able to see his potential.”

Nathan Poindexter (credit: Kenneth Crowley)

Nathan Poindexter (credit: Kenneth Crowley)

Details were not made clear to family and friends as to what exactly lead up to the shooting. On Twitter, the Aurora Police Department said it was not an active shooter incident.

Investigators said no one else was injured.

“The safety of our guests, retailers and employees is our top priority,” officials with the shopping center stated. “We are working closely with the Aurora Police Department as they investigate this incident.”

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(credit: CBS)

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Agent Lampson at 303-739-6013. Tipsters can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000 by calling Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

Dillon Thomas