A mother's heartbreak: Vigil honors 17-year-old basketball star Brandon Hendricks

MORRIS HEIGHTS, Bronx (WABC) -- An emotional vigil was held in the Bronx to protest gun violence and honor the life of one of the city's latest victims: 17-year-old basketball star and recent graduate Brandon Hendricks.

Hendricks was shot and killed in the Bronx Sunday night. His family says the teen was attending a birthday barbecue for a friend when he was shot and killed.

On Thursday evening, Hendricks' mother and sister were joined by local politicians and community activists to call for justice and change.

Now as police search for his killer, his family is left searching for the courage to go on.

"My brother, my baby brother, he means the world to mother and I, he was our pride and joy, we catered to him," his sister said. "My family is torn right now, my friends are heartbroken, the violence has got to stop. I was just protesting for this. It's a pandemic going on."

Hendricks' mother did her part to raise a great kid. But all she has for it now is burning, unrelenting grief.

"You took away my life, you have no idea what you did to me," Eve Hendricks said. "My son has my heart. Nobody knows how I feel, I don't know how I feel."

Hendricks was a success story in the South Bronx neighborhood. He graduated from high school days ago and was headed to St. John's to play basketball.

"I cant look at a picture of him without wanting to die," Eve Hendricks said. "I want to jump off somebody's bridge, I don't want to live without my bubbie, I cannot live without my bubbie. I lived my life for that boy."

Police say Hendricks was an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now the community ripped apart by COVID-19 and roiled by protest is molten with anger.

"We have to stand and bury one of our own because of one of our own, that's unacceptable and it's unsustainable," community activist Kirsten John Foy said.

Eyewitness News spoke to the 17-year-old's uncle, Noel Ellison, on Monday. He says it was a surreal day for the family.

According to Ellison, Hendricks' mother would often say "I gotta get him out of this neighborhood."

The teen was on his way out, headed to college. He just couldn't get out in time.

"You do all you can. You force the kid to get good grades. You treat him like he's on top of the world. And he's done everything we've asked for. And his reward should not be an early death," Ellison said.

Hendricks was a star on the hardwood, but more importantly, a star off the court too.

"It's been instilled in him since childhood that he had to go to college," Ellison said. "He knew that that was the goal, it was his responsibility to study hard and get the grades to do it. He's won a couple of basketball awards for being high in his academic stuff."

Hendricks graduated from James Monroe High School last week and was described by head basketball coach Nigel Thompson as "our leader on and off the floor for the past two seasons."

There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing.

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Balloons were released at a vigil in the Bronx in honor of 17-year-old Brandon Hendricks who was shot and killed last weekend.



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