A Brooklyn man fatally shot behind the wheel of his car worked as a mentor to at-risk youth, they Daily News has learned.
Shaquary Bryant’s family believes the hard-working 28 year old was likely on his way to an overnight shift at a residence for teens in trouble with the law in East New York when he was slain. The residence is run by Good Shepard Services, where Bryant worked since 2019 as a youth development counselor.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” his sister, Najah Kingwood, 39, said of the slaying. “My brother had no enemies.”
Bryant’s family says he turned his life around after overcoming run-ins with the law in North Carolina and New York City.
Cops said Bryant’s New York City record included three arrests in 2022 for assault, weapons possession and grand larceny. He was also arrested in 2011, when he was a juvenile, and charged with assault. In July 2018, he an an accomplice were arrested for allegedly passing counterfeit $100 bills at Saks Fifth Avenue in Greenwich, Conn., according to a local report.
Bryant’s family says his past arrests motivated him now help kids in similar circumstances.
“He started mentoring in North Carolina,” his sister explained. “When you grow up in the neighborhoods where we grew up you would see what you don’t want to be. He knew there was something better than gang banging and violence — and he wanted to teach the kids that.”
They believe he may have been struck by stray bullets or caught in crossfire when he was blasted three times in the chest at Atlantic and Rockaway Aves. in Brownsville about 11:30 p.m. Jan. 24. He lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
When cops arrived in response to a 911 call, they found him half in and half out of the front driver’s seat of the 2018 Honda Accord with North Carolina plates. It looked like he was trying to get out of the vehicle to find help and lost consciousness, an NYPD official said. He was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital but couldn’t be saved.
Investigators said they believe Bryant was targeted although they have been unable to establish a motive or make an arrest. “It’s hard to get hit by random bullets three times,” a police source said.
His bewildered family wonders if it could have been a case of mistaken identity. They say he was devoted to the kids he worked to mentor.
Troubled teens are placed by family court to live long-term at the Barbara Blum Residence, where they receive supportive services to keep them on the right path.
“He had conversations with them, took them out in the field, made sure they were on task for school work,” Kingwood said. “Making sure that if they were knuckleheads they were set on a straight road … He helped keep them on the right path.”
Bryant had overcome a recent medical episode only to get gunned down in the street. Two years ago his lung collapsed while he was at work, his family said.
“He couldn’t breathe,” Kingwood said. “He went home. His mother’s best friend took him to the hospital and he had to get a minor surgery.”
Kingwood said she is sorry for the kids who lost a great mentor.
“He was so passionate about work,” she said. “I felt like I knew some of the kids because he talked about them so much.”