Gun violence

NYC Basketball Star, 17, Shot and Killed Just Days After High School Graduation

Brandon Hendricks died at the end of a two-week stretch where shootings in New York City increased 200%

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The surging gun violence in New York City claimed another life Sunday night -- a 17-year-old high-school basketball star and academic standout who just graduated last week.

Moments before midnight Sunday, the NYPD responded to a shooting on Davidson Avenue in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. They discovered one victim, later identified as Brandon Hendricks, with a gunshot wound to the neck. He was pronounced dead at Saint Barnabas Hospital early Monday.

Hendricks graduated from James Monroe High School just last week. 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.

His coach took to Instagram early Monday morning 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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"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 capped another week in which gun violence soared in a city already rocked by a pandemic virus and violent protests over police brutality. In the last two weeks the NYPD has reported at least 114 shooting incidents, versus 38 in the same two weeks last year -- a 200 percent increase.

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