An unsolved murder of a Bronx teenager has baffled police for the last five years, but they may be closer to finding the person who killed the young tennis star. NY1 Criminal Justice Reporter Dean Meminger has the details.
Just 14 years old, Kemar Bryan Brooks was gunned down inside Haffen Park in the Bronx. Nearly five years later, detectives are still looking for his killer.
"It is as fresh in my mind as yesterday. And I realize there is no way to get over it. It is just something you just have to live with," said Cassell Brooks, Kemar's father.
Kemar was playing tennis that day, as he often did. When it started to rain, he and other boys tried to find shelter. That's when shots rang out.
"Lone gunman entered the park and started firing shots in their direction. The kids ran, the gunman angled to get off more shots, and one of those shots unfortunately struck and killed Kemar," said Detective Thomas Green of the NYPD's special victims unit.
Detectives think the gunman mistakenly took Kemar for a rival gang member. Haffen Park, in an area many call The Valley, is known as a place where gangs hang out.
Investigators may have gotten a break when members of the Slut gang from that neighborhood were busted last week
"Encouraging that yes, maybe we might find some answers because some of the gangs that were taken down were in the involved in that area," Green said.
Detectives say although they believe they are very close to making an arrest in this murder, they still need people that might have any information about it to come forward.
They think Slut gang members know about Kemar's shooting but haven't come forward because of the street code.
"The common known term, 'Snitches get stitches, no snitching,'" said Detective Barry Sullivan of the NYPD Bronx Homicide Squad.
But now under arrest, some gang members might talk.
"An innocent child, no gang affiliation, a great kid..his life snuffed out for nothing."
And for Kemar's dad, prayer and the support of his church have been a tremendous help. Surprisingly, he doesn't wish harm on his son's killer.
"It is one that seems unforgivable, but I learned to forgive the person. I learned over the last five years to forgive the person," Cassell Brooks said.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.