Honors Student Shot and Killed in Bronx Park, Sources Say
BAYCHESTER — A church-going 14-year-old honors student and star athlete was found shot to death in a Bronx park Friday morning, sources said.
Kemar Bryan Brooks, of Baychester, was discovered unconscious and unresponsive by his father about 6 a.m. inside Haffen Park, near Bruner and Burke avenues, where he had been playing tennis, the FDNY and family said.
The NYPD said Kemar sustained blunt-force trauma to the back of the head, and sources said the boy was shot in the back of the head, but not at a close distance. Shell casings were found on a basketball court near the tennis court, police sources said.
Kemar's father, Cassel Brooks, said his son was an honor student and an athlete. On Friday, he put together a memorial for his son outside of the family's house, which they've lived in since moving to The Bronx from Jamaica in 2010.
The memorial showcased the boy's athletic and academic achievements: two bowling trophies, a bowling medal, four track medals and two medals for being on the Bronx Academy of Health's honor roll.
Cassel Brooks said Kemar was at the park playing tennis on Thursday night. By midnight, the boy had not returned home, and Brooks, 50, went looking for him at the park, but couldn't find him. The next morning, Brooks tried again and made the startling discovery at about 6 a.m.
"I saw him laying there with his tennis racket by the park, and I couldn't look anymore," Brooks said.
Dozens of family, friends and neighbors visited the family throughout the day Friday to offer their condolences.
Carrol Blake, who lives in White Plains and works at the Gospel Assembly Church in Williamsbridge, said she had taught Kemar in Sunday school since February and has known the family for two years.
"He was someone who was very vibrant and was quite intelligent," Blake said. "The whole church body is grieving right now."
The medical examiner has not yet issued an official cause of death.
Additional reporting by Paul DeBenedetto