A jury has handed down a guilty verdict to Nahjim Luke for the manslaughter of 17-year-old Brandon Hendricks, a high school graduate and promising basketball talent, who was killed by a stray bullet during a barbecue.
Luke, 26, faced charges of first-degree manslaughter and illegal possession of a firearm, as announced by the office of the Bronx District Attorney on Monday, January 29th.
The conviction stems from an incident where Luke discharged an illegal firearm toward a group attending a barbecue on Davidson Avenue on the night of June 28, 2020, resulting in Hendricks being fatally wounded in the back.
He succumbed to his injuries in less than an hour at a local hospital.
Those who knew Brandon say they are still trying to understand why a young man with a promising future was taken from them in a senseless act of gun violence, which continues to plague the city.
The Hendricks family, after enduring nearly three years of facing the man who took their son’s life in court, finally breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Eve Hendricks, Brandon’s mother, said, “He went down, you know, you did the crime, you pay the time. Be honorable about it. You took my son’s life. Brandon made sure he got justice because he was that person, a righteous person, a decent person.”
Following the incident, Luke absconded from the crime scene but was apprehended by law enforcement approximately a week later. He now potentially faces a sentence of up to 25 years behind bars.
Hendricks, who had just completed his high school education at James Monroe High School, was celebrated for his skills on the basketball court as a point guard for the Eagles, as well as for his academic achievements.
He was looking forward to continuing his basketball career at St. John’s University.
His social media profiles displayed a profound passion for basketball, featuring numerous highlight videos and updates about fellow players receiving college offers.
A senior NYPD official noted that Hendricks had no prior encounters with law enforcement throughout his youth.
Following Hendricks’ passing, his coach paid tribute to him on Instagram, highlighting his leadership both on the basketball court and in academic pursuits.
In his honor, the Bronx Rising initiative established the Brandon Hendricks Scholarship in 2021 to assist Bronx students in attending college. The initiative chose the participants because they all have the same mission: to help and improve their communities.
Brandon was honored with a street renaming ceremony on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. 156th Street and Park Avenue now says “Brandon Hendricks-Ellison Boulevard.” The street naming event paid tribute to Brandon Hendricks’ legacy while also renewing the call for a safe summer and an end to rampant gun violence in the Bronx.
His tragic death sparked a movement in his community, and his mother, Eve Hendricks, is now a leading opponent of gun violence.
Hendricks never gave up on justice for her son.