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Bronx man receives 25-year sentence for fatal shooting of teen basketball star

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Najhim Luke, 26, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his involvement in the tragic death of Brandon Hendricks, a promising teenage basketball player, the Bronx district attorney’s office announced on Friday.

The incident occurred on June 28, 2020, during a gathering for a barbecue in Morris Heights, where Luke indiscriminately opened fire into a crowd, fatally striking the 17-year-old Hendricks with a stray bullet.

After a trial held in January, Luke was found guilty on charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to prosecutors. Alongside his 25-year imprisonment, Luke will face an additional five years of post-release supervision, as outlined by the DA’s office.

Brandon Hendricks, remembered by family and friends as an academic standout at James Monroe High School, was not only esteemed in the classroom but also admired for his prowess on the basketball court, where he shone as a star player. His untimely demise occurred just days following his high school graduation, abruptly halting his aspirations of pursuing college basketball.

Expressing condolences and acknowledgment of Hendricks’ potential cut short, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark conveyed sentiments of appreciation towards Hendricks’ mother for her resilience and commitment to transforming personal tragedy into community action. Clark highlighted her advocacy against gun violence and underscored the collaborative efforts between her and the district attorney’s office to enact meaningful change within the community.

In her statement, Clark emphasized the loss suffered by Hendricks’ loved ones and the profound impact his absence has had on those who knew him. The sentencing of Najhim Luke serves as a legal resolution in a case marked by profound tragedy, yet also underscores the ongoing efforts to address gun violence and promote safer communities, as championed by advocates like Brandon Hendricks’ mother.

As the Bronx continues to grapple with the aftermath of senseless acts of violence, the sentencing of Luke stands as a reminder of the justice system’s commitment to holding perpetrators accountable for their actions, while also honoring the memory and legacy of individuals like Brandon Hendricks, whose potential was cut short by such violence.

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