MORRIS HEIGHTS, the Bronx — As gun violence continues to plague New York City, police said a Bronx teenager became the latest victim Sunday night, just days after his high school graduation.
Just before midnight, officers responded to a 911 call of a person shot on Davidson Avenue, near West 176th Street, in the Morris Heights section of the borough, police said.
Cops arriving on the scene discovered 17-year-old Brandon Hendricks with a gunshot wound to the neck, officials said.
EMS rushed the boy to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Bronx teen's basketball coach and teacher, Nigel Thompson, remembered Hendricks as "a great kid."
According to Thompson, the boy had just graduated two days ago from James Monroe High School in the Soundview section of the borough.
"It's cliche, when these things happen, that you say 'he was a good kid,' but he really was," the educator told PIX11's Anthony DiLorenzo Monday morning. "He was a very thoughtful, kind, humble young man," he continued.
Thompson said the boy played for three years on the school's varsity team and planned on playing in college next year, but was supposed to head to prep school after COVID-19 interrupted the regular school year.
"I never knew anyone to say anything bad about him and that's why its so devastating," Thompson said of the teen's killing.
"His energy rubbed off on other students, and his positivity; he was a great kid," the coach and teacher remembered.
No arrests have been made in the deadly shooting and the investigation remains ongoing, police said Monday.
Hendricks was among 11 victims in eight separate shootings across the city on Sunday alone, authorities said.
According to the NYPD, there's been a massive spike in gun violence with over 500 shootings in the first half of 2020, and nearly 20% of those in just the past week.
"This is a tough time...Shootings are up," NYPD Chief Terence Monahan said in an interview with AM 970's The Answer. "We haven't seen this since 1996," Monahan added.
The NYPD attributes the dramatic and deadly rise in crime to bail reform, courts being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and Rikers Island inmates being released due to coronavirus concerns.
With the city's budget due Tuesday, protesters have staged a round-the-clock sit-in outside City Hall since last week, demanding $1 billion be slashed from the NYPD's budget.