BRONX — A war of words at a Morris Heights basketball court turned deadly Thursday when a 22-year-old man was gunned down by a group of armed men, police said.
Tashawn Murray, of Morris Heights, got into a beef with several men at the courts at Half-Nelson Playground on Nelson Avenue.
The men walked away from the fight — only to return about 9 p.m. packing guns, police said. Murray ran about 200 yards, but the shooters blasted him twice in the arm and once in the back, cops said.
Paramedics rushed to the scene and found a bloodied Murray in front of 1600 Nelson Avenue. He was taken Murray to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he died, police said.
Henry Ramirez, 42, who lives on the block, said he heard the gunfire from his window.
"The poor guy was just playing basketball," Ramirez, who has lived in the building for two years, said.
Sadie Harkless, Murray's grandmother, visited a makeshift memorial set up in front of Murray's home at West Tremont Avenue.
"My relationship with him was very close," said Harkless, 61, adding that she raised Murray and treated him like a son. "That's my baby."
Friends gathered at the memorial — eight-inch votive candles placed in a cardboard box — to remember Murray, who they said was a recent graduate of Jane Addams Academic Success.
"Is this it? Is this all he gets?" said Starasia Dortch, 18, the first friend to arrive at the memorial. "He was a good boy. There's no one friendlier.
"I don't know what would make anyone to this to Tashawn," she added.
Police have not made an arrest, and the investigation is ongoing.
William Mayo, 52, who claimed to know Murray since he was a boy, said the young man got mixed up with the wrong crowd a few years ago.
"He was very well loved, but it wasn't a big surprise," he said, referring to the shooting. "He got involved in street life. When you do that, things happen."