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.
"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.