NYC Violence

Man Indicted in Stray Bullet Death of College-Bound NYC Teen Basketball Star

The victim, who excelled both on the court and in the classroom, was set to attend St. John's University in the fall before he was shot and killed in June, part of the city's spike in gun violence over the past several months

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A 22-year-old Bronx man has been indicted on murder and other charges in the June stray bullet death of a 17-year-old high school basketball star and academic standout who ended up with a deadly wound to the back at a barbecue.

Nahjim Luke was arraigned Tuesday in the June 28 shooting death of Brandon Hendricks, who was killed just days after he graduated from high school and had been set to play college basketball for St. John's prior to the COVID outbreak.

Prosecutors allege Luke fired shots at a group of people who had gathered for a barbecue that June evening. One of the shots struck Hendricks in his back. He was pronounced dead at a hospital less than an hour later. Luke fled the scene and was taken into custody about a week later, authorities have said.

He had been remanded after his arrest and that remand was continued Tuesday. Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately clear.

"The defendant allegedly callously fired into a group of people and ended the life of a young, promising teen," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement. "Since his death, Brandon’s mother has channeled her grief into ardently speaking out against gun violence in our community.”

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.

A senior NYPD official said Hendricks had never had any interactions with the police in his young life. His family and friends were left reeling after his death -- and wondering for whom the deadly bullet had been intended in the first place.

Hendricks' coach took to Instagram shortly after his death to remember Hendricks as both an athletic and academic leader.

View this post on Instagram

RIP Diddy ❤️ I have so many fond memories of the short time that I spent with Brandon while he was with us on this Earth. He was a charismatic, humble young man. He listened and respected everyone. He was an awesome team mate. Thoughtful, kind and caring. Full of life and positivity. 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. Just graduated from HS two days ago. His whole life ahead of him...why did he have to be taken from us so soon? I have so many special memories of Brandon that I’ll treasure for ever. Many of them on the court during our countless hours of practice. Many of them in the games. Win or lose we could always count on him to fight and give his best. Some of my fondest memories of Brandon was not on the court but in my Geometry class. Brandon was so inquisitive and intelligent. His questions, thoughtfulness and summaries always moved the class forward. He would bounce around the class helping his classmate until they got it. His effort in class was equal to his effort on the court...why was he taken away so soon? What can we do as a community and a society to prevent our Princes from killing each other so senselessly? I’m pretty certain that the bullets that took Brandon’s life were not meant for him. He wasn’t that kind of a kid. But those bullets should not have been meant for anyone. We need to find a way to get our young brothers to value not just the lives of others, but to value their lives. Two lives were lost last night. Two families will be devastated, and our hearts will be eternally broken. The senseless violence has to stop. We’ve lost a special part of our family. RIP Brandon. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Coach Thompson

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