Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everybody's Favorite Guy

The body lay lifeless on the shower floor... He was a good looking kid...about six foot, six...heavily muscled....good strong legs...My detectives stood over the body and examined the trajectory of the bullet...I knew they would tell me what I already knew... African -American male...age 17, one gunshot wound to the left temple. 22 caliber bullet. ..The shooter fired from a downward position. With his left hand. You think I'm good....I should be...I've been a Homicide Detective for close to twenty years.. My name, Lieutenant Sissy Van Buren, Philadelphia Homicide.

I don't come out on every murder case...but this one attracted my attention. I'm a big Basketball fan and I follow High school basketball as much as I do college and the NBA...and Trevor Lee was Philly's brightest..he was All public. He was averaging 25 points a game and had lead his high school to it's first undefeated record in it's history. NBA scouts were already looking at him.. They were saying that he was the next Kobe Bryant. High praise in deed.

As the Medical Examiner was carrying his body out of the school, I noticed a throng of teen aged girls crying and sobbing.. a couple of guys hanging their heads muttering -"Man, thas messed up...who would wanna do somethin like that to him...He was the we ain gon win anudder game."

Funny what kids deem important. In some ways adults are just as bad. My Detectives interviewed close to 250 people...There wasn't one person who had anything bad to say about this kid. I checked over the interviews and I noticed something a little off center. This kid had two juvenile arrests...One was for forcibly assaulting a female (a pre-cursor to rape) that was thrown out..and another was for assaulting a male student. Also tossed out. Both arrests were last year.

A number of the males I talked to stopped just close to hero worship for this guy, yet I got the impression that they were afraid of him. The girls idolized them...yet some of them appeared to be afraid of him also. Then I ran across a
young man..The team statistician ,named Thaddeus Barber. He was about five foot nine, 110 pounds soaking wet and wore glasses...Like all the other boys, he wore his hair cut close and even sported a platinum earing...He didn't seem to be put off that Trevor Lee was dead at all. When I came across him, he was writing some notes...with his left hand on a stat sheet supported by a clip board. He seemed oblivious to the hoop la that was engulfing his classmates and the rest of the school...The Police and the detectives didn't seem to phase him at all.

At first ,I reasoned that this was a school in North Philadelphia. The school had
metal detectors..(that obviously weren't working today) Neither Thaddeus or any other student at this school was surprised or in awe of Police and or detectives. It was a fact of life of children going to school in Philadelphia's Public school system.

I sat down next to him and began talking to him..

"Hi Thaddeus...I'm ...."

"I know who you're a cop." he said.

"Uh, yes..I'm a cop..I'm investigating the death of your high school hero." I said.

"He wasn't my hero, actually I'm glad he's dead." He said.

"Really? You're the first person that had a bad word to say about Trevor." I said.

"Yeah, well, he didn't take your IPOd, that you'd been saving for all month, and he didn't take your cell phone and step on it and crush it." said Thaddeus ,obviously filled with emotion.

'He did these things to you?" I asked ,knowing the answer.

"He bullied everybody, it's just that..because he was the school basketball hero, nobody ever said anything." said Thaddeus.

"Did you tell your parents?" I asked.

"My moms couldn't do nothing..and my pop..he would've tried to help..but Trevor is Six foot four..My dad is 5"10, maybe...Trevor would've beat my dad up
and I couldn't live with that...I told the Principal, but he just said he'd look into it..He never did nothing. And as long as we winnin Basketball games he aint gonna say nothin. Did you talk to the girl Trevor Raped last year?? The Principal talked her and her parents into dropping the charges..Said it was a misunderstanding....Ha...yeah, I bet it was."

"What? Are you serious? " I said incredulous.

"You can't prove it...Nobody will talk to you about it... He did whatever he wanted...She aint the first girl he raped..she was the only one who reported it.
When the case got tossed, the other girls made her life a living hell...She don't even go here no more.The other girls threatened her..Aint that a bitch.?" He said.

"Yes..I suppose" I said. I should have felt sorry for the dead victim, but all of a sudden I hated him. I didn't know what had come over me. This kid, this poor bullied kid could have been my son..if I had one..Was it the mother in me? I didn't know what it was...that I was feeling.

" you really didn't like Trevor did you?" I said ,again hating myself for sounding so stupid.

"Ya think?" he said, not trying to hide his hostility.

"I'm in the 10th grade..I haven't reached pubertry yet, you know...I feel bad enough around girls...He and some of the other guys on the Basketball team tossed me into the girls shower room naked once...The most humiliating day of my life.." He added.

"Thaddeus...You don't have to say another word...I just wanted to know how you felt...I guess you feel safe now right?" I asked.

"Yeah, matter of fact, I do..He was everybody's favorite guy...he wasn't mine..I'm glad that mother fucker is dead..." he screamed.

I made a shush sound to him....."Don't say anything else to anybody...don't even repeat what you told hear? Anybody give you any call me.
Here...take my card....take go on..." I said.

He looked at me with tears in his eyes...This was probably the first time in a long time that any adult had ever tried to help him...had ever reached out to him..He put my card in his pocket and walked away from me with that sullen walk that so many of the young boys have now of days.

I know, I know....That's probably Trevor Lee's killer right there..I probably just talked to a murderer and let him go...I'm a homicide detective..It's my job to bring killers in..not give them a pass...Maybe I've been doing this job too long.
Maybe...Just maybe...this one time..Justice was served. The murder of Trevor Lee remains unsolved!

(For Mizrepresent and the memory of Carl Walker Hoover)


SLC said...

As I read this all I could think about was Miz's earlier post. This is a scarily realistic post.

Solomon said...

Miz's post was extremely sad. It is a shame that these kids get away with all the things that they do.

I remember growing up, I was the one that got tossed around, and none of them ever got in trouble for the terrible things they did to the smaller kids that couldn't stick up for themselves.

Funny thing is, many of the good looking bullies are bald with bot bellies, married some hot girl who is also bald with a pot belly lolol.

Now the guys that were being bullied are the ones that get the hot chicks. Funny how that works.

I feel sorry for that poor boy that Miz was writing about earlier, what a shame.

Sunflower said...

Very poignant and in tune with your post on Keith's Space.

Toni said...

Loved this story Keith!

Angie B. said...

Wowww, this story and your post on your other blog has really got me riled up today!

Lisa said...

After reading this, all I could think about was that poor kid that hung himself..Good Story just the same Keith.

Halo said...

Good Story Keith! Nice tie in!

Vanessa said...

Great social commentary and a great story to tie in with it.

Cheryl said...

Good Story...but very sad though.

Brenda said...

I agree with Soloman, it's amazing what these kids get away with. This was such a timely story.

Swaggie said...

Man this seems so realistic, almost like something that actually happened in my high school.

James Perkins said...

I was glad that Sissy Van Buren didn't bust that kid..She showed great compassion in this great story.

Simon Bastion said...

Very Very good story and nice tie in with your post on "Keith's Space"

Grover The Playboy said...

Mann, this subject of bullying really hit hard with you today Keith..This was brilliant.

Jazzy said...

Just finished reading "Keith's Space"...I come over here and you hit us with this subject again...Brilliant man, simply brilliant..You got my attention brother.

Tate2 said...

Good story...I agree with SLC, this was scarily realistic man...Wow, you got some imagination!

Captain Jack said...

This was so poignant...I loved the way you showed Sissy Van Buren's
human side...So glad she didn't bust that kid..he had already suffered enough.

Sean said...

Great story Keith...What do you do for an encore?? I know, I always ask you that,don't I?

Mizrepresent said...

Thank you Keith, so much! I loved the story and it's message even moreso!