Promising basketball expert Brandon Hendricks, 17, was shot in New York and, with his last words, asked a friend to call his mother.
The tragedy occurred amidst a barrage of gun violence in the city – including the death of another young man and ex-basketball player, Tracey Washington, who left a mysterious final message that has gone viral (story below).
Hendricks, who graduated from James Monroe High School last week, was shot dead in a Bronx area in Morris Heights just before midnight.
The teenager was at a friend’s birthday party when shots were fired. The police discovered him with a bullet wound in the neck and he was pronounced dead after being taken to St. Barnabas Hospital.
A friend who witnessed the incident spoke The New York Post and revealed Hendrick’s last words.
“I and my friends run away in no time,” said 18-year-old Hammad Singleton.
“I turn around and he said ‘I was hit’ and I just saw it. I grabbed him and said we can’t stop here because more shots are fired.
“He stopped at the stairs and we sat him down. He started to wiggle. So I sat him down. My friends took off his shirt and I think that’s him.
“My friends took off his shirt and I think that’s him. I speak to him: ‘You are good, brother, are you good?’ He says, “Yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine.”
“He tries to smile. He tries to speak to me: ‘I’m good, I’m good’. He said: ‘Yo, Bam (Singleton), I love you. Call my mother.’
“He just closed his eyes. He didn’t say anything after that. That was it.”
Hendricks’ destroyed mother Eve told reporters, “He didn’t use drugs, he didn’t use gangs. He had a basketball scholarship. He wanted to go to college.”
Police witnesses reportedly said Hendricks had been involved in an argument before the shootout, but Singleton insisted that he was an innocent bystander.
“It really wasn’t meant for him,” he said. “Wrong place, wrong time.
“The people who were with me are all basketball players. Nothing to do with the street.”
Hendrick’s uncle Noel Ellison spoke to his nephew shortly before his death. The two regularly visited the church together.
“We spoke [at around] 9:30 last night, “said Ellison The New York Daily News. “Two hours later he was gone.
“We talked about the things he had to do to prepare for college.
“He was nothing more than a beautiful, outstanding child, a child loved by everyone he meets. He is the child your daughter is supposed to marry.”
Hendricks had been captain of his high school basketball team for the past two years and had just decided to attend junior college at West Hills College in California. He was a point guard and a natural leader.
“He was an athlete. He was a leader. He was charming. Everyone loved him,” said Monroe’s assistant coach Chris Salgado The New York Post.
“He was just a person of the people. That’s why it hurts so much because he wasn’t a street child.”
After the shooting, a candlelight vigil took place near Hendricks’ Bronx house, attended by more than 200 people.
SHOOTING VICTIM’S EERIE FINAL MESSAGE
Tracey Washington, 21, was shot dead in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Monday after stopping in a taxi on Dean Street shortly after 6 p.m. The shooter was waiting for him.
Washington wrote a threatening Facebook post nine hours before his death, which is now widespread.
“Oh yes, I got the job I’m starting tomorrow. Please don’t kill me,” he wrote.
His grandmother, Maybell Washington, told The New York Daily News that people who knew her grandson had informed them that Tracey had received a call in the taxi. The call prompted him to reroute his trip to where he was killed.
“He got a call and went to Weeksville,” said Ms. Washington. “He didn’t (originally) go to Weeksville (an adjacent Crown Heights suburb) where he was killed. He went somewhere else.
“I don’t know where he was going. He had just left the house. His sister said she heard him leave the door at around 6 am.
“Someone set up my child.”
Washington’s twin sister Stacey told that news that she didn’t know why someone wanted to hurt her brother.
“He was a good person,” she said. “I just feel like who would do this? Everyone knew him … I just want to know who did it.”
Washington was a high school basketball player at the Eagle Academy for Young Men II in Brooklyn.