16yo Nigerian Boy Oluwadurotimi Oyebola Killed In Brooklyn Park

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on September 24th, 2018

New York City, USA : The family of 16-year-old Oluwadurotimi Joseph Oyebola, known as Timi, is heartbroken, mourning the teen’s tragic death. The Family of Timi says he was in the wrong place at the wrong time

Timi was shot in the head and killed while playing basketball at Chester Playground in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn on Friday afternoon.

The boy was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The police said that they did not know the motive for the killing and that it was possible that the boy was not the target of the shooting.

Police say Timi appears to have been an innocent bystander, shot in the midst of a fight between two men.

“He’s not a gang member,” said his father, David Oyebola. “He’s just someone who loved to have fun, play basketball.”

His family says he was playing basketball with friends after school, passing time until a church prayer meeting.

“Church started at 7 p.m.,” said Emmanuel Fatukasi. “He finished school at 1:30. He just wanted to do something within the gap.”

Oyebola lived in Queens with his family. He migrated to the U.S. from Nigeria in 2013.

“He loved basketball,” the teens father added. “He always wanted to be a star. He wanted to be a doctor.”

Oyebola said his son was set to be recognized for his academic achievement at Columbia University. “They expect him there Nov. 10,” said Oyebola. “But I’m going to be there for him.”

The family is now calling for stricter gun laws and for the teen’s killer(s) to be brought to justice.

Police are currently investigating, and are searching for two men seen running from the park.

Oluwadurotimi was in 11th grade at Brooklyn Ascend High School in Brownsville, said Steven F. Wilson, the chief executive of the Ascend charter school network. Oluwadurotimi’s school is about a half-mile west of the playground where he was shot.

Oluwadurotimi was in 11th grade at Brooklyn Ascend High School in Brownsville, said Steven F. Wilson, the chief executive of the Ascend charter school network. Oluwadurotimi’s school is about a half-mile west of the playground where he was shot.

Oluwadurotimi moved to New York with his parents and sister from Lagos, Nigeria, in 2013, said his father, David Oyebola.

“He was a good boy. He was my strength,” Mr. Oyebola said. “It’s a big loss that I can never recover from.”

Oluwadurotimi’s favorite subjects in school were math and science, his father said, and he wanted to have a career as a doctor or engineer. In November, he was scheduled to accept a national award for academic achievement at Columbia University.

Mr. Oyebola, 49, a minister at the Abundant Life Christian Center in Brooklyn, said his son was active in the church and was supposed to attend a worship session on Friday. He said he often worried about his son being in the neighborhood near his school because he had heard about shootings there.

He would ask Oluwadurotimi to tell him when he arrived at school and left for the day, Mr. Oyebola said. At 5 p.m., when he received a call saying his son had been shot, he rushed to the hospital to see him.

“The authorities are supposed to protect us,” he said. “So I’d like an answer: Who killed my son? I’d like justice to be done.”

Mr. Wilson, the charter school’s executive, said Oluwadurotimi was a dedicated student who often stayed at school into the evening to study and meet with his teachers. He was quiet but witty, and he was so passionate about basketball that he often carried a ball around with him, Mr. Wilson said.

“Oluwadurotimi’s future was bright, and it is simply unfathomable that it was cut short so heinously,” he said.

Tolu Olowoyo, 16, said he became friends with Oluwadurotimi when the Oyebola family emigrated from Nigeria about five years ago. Tolu said he had a knack for making his friends laugh and was selfless, too.

“He’d go out of his way to help others,” he said.

Madeline Sanders, 40, a mother of three who lives near the park and attended the nearby public school, said the shooting made her anxious because her son plays basketball there.

Gesturing to the block that had been roped off by the police, Ms. Sanders said her siblings had a barbecue there just last weekend and she had considered it a safe place.

“This is broad daylight and a full schoolyard,” Ms. Sanders said. “Now it’s like, ‘Are our kids safe?’ And you want to believe your kids are safe in the neighborhood we grew up.”

Her husband, Richard Sanders, 44, said he believed it was a safe community, but that there was a problem with teenagers getting ahold of guns that must be solved.

“They bring the guns to the basketball court,” he said. “Unbelievable.”

At about 10 p.m., congregants from Mr. Oyebola’s church entered his house in Queens to pray with his family.

“We believe that in the last moments of his life, the Lord had him,” a preacher said. “He is sleeping in the flesh, but alive in the soul.”

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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