Police have arrested the man believed to be responsible for gunning down a 17-year-old high-school basketball star and academic standout from the Bronx who had graduated just days prior to being fatally shot.
Nahjim Luke was arrested Monday morning in the shooting death of Brandon Hendricks, police said, and the 22-year-old Fordham Heights resident faces murder, manslaughter and weapons possession charges. An attorney for Luke was not immediately made clear.
Hendricks became another victim of the surging gun violence in New York City on Sunday, June 28. Moments before midnight that night, NYPD officers responded to a shooting on Davidson Avenue in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. They discovered one victim, Hendricks, with a gunshot wound to the neck. He was pronounced dead at Saint Barnabas Hospital early the next day.
Hendricks graduated from James Monroe High School in June, just days before he was killed. He was a point guard for the Eagles, helping them to the playoffs this season before COVID-19 interrupted athletics programs. His social media accounts evidenced a deep love for the game, with his Twitter account full of highlight videos and reports of peers going on to college offers.
Hendricks, who a senior NYPD official said had never had any interactions with the police in his young life, was due to attend Saint John's in the fall. His family and friends were left reeling after his death, and left to wonder who those bullets were intended for.
Hendricks' coach took to Instagram shortly after his death to remember Hendricks as both an athletic and academic leader.
"I’ve never met anyone who had anything bad to say about him. He was a remarkable basketball player. Incredible handle and quickness. He was our leader on and off the floor for the past 2 seasons," head coach Nigel Thompson wrote. "I'm pretty certain that the bullets that took Brandon's life were not meant for him. He wasn't that kind of kid. But those bullets should not have been meant for anyone."
But Hendricks wasn't just a basketball player — Thompson said the young man excelled in Thompson's geometry class as well.
"His effort in class was equal to his effort on the court...why was he taken away so soon?"
Hendricks' death is part of a deeply troubling surge in gun violence throughout NYC since June, in a city already rocked by a pandemic virus and violent protests over police brutality. Week over week compared to 2019, the last of June into the first week of July saw an increase of more than 200 percent in shooting victims, jumping from 33 last year to 101 in 2020.