Due to a reporter’s error, a previous version of this story misstated who allegedly confessed to the shooting. Missael Pena Canela allegedly told investigators he fired the shots. We regret the error.
SALEM — The man accused of killing a Salem State student in his car on Halloween night will return to court for a probable cause hearing next month as he remains held without bail.
Missael Pena Canela, 18, of Salem, faces a murder charge in connection with the fatal shooting of Carl-Hens Beliard, 18, in the vicinity of 22 Forest Ave. during the early morning hours of Nov. 1, said Essex District Attorney Paul Tucker’s office in a statement. Beliard was found suffering from a gunshot wound at the scene and taken to Salem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Tucker’s office said the shooting was not a random act of violence. And, during Canela’s arraignment, prosecutors said he had an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman who was in the car with Beliard when he was shot. Canela is also facing charges of vandalizing property and malicious destruction of property for allegedly smashing a cell phone belonging to the woman.
After he was arrested, Canela allegedly confessed to firing the shots into the vehicle after spotting the woman inside. Beliard had begun driving the vehicle forward when he was shot, prosecutors said.
During Canela’s arraignment, he was ordered held without bail without prejudice. He will return to court on Dec. 1.
Tucker described the shooting as “senseless gun violence” and said it was “tragic not only for the victim’s family but for the SSU community and beyond.”
Salem State President John Keenan said the shooting was heartbreaking and represented “every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller said his department’s hearts were with Beliard’s family and the Salem State community at large.
“Violence such as this has no place in Salem,” Miller said.
Beliard, a first-year student at Salem State, lived in Worcester and was a sport and movement science major. He lived on campus and was a member of the university’s varsity basketball team.
The university made counselors available to students in the wake of the shooting, and students were also encouraged to call the 24/7 Mental Health Support Line for in-the-moment support. The Human Resources team encouraged employees to reach out to its Employee Assistance Program, Mass4You.
“While this sort of tragedy has an impact on our entire campus community, this news will be especially difficult for his teammates, classmates, and fellow residents of Marsh Hall,” Keenan said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with Mr. Beliard’s family and friends.”