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Shot Through the Heart
Doug Most
July 10, 2000
The hoop dreams of four young men were shattered—and the issue of racial profiling was brought into sharp focus—when New Jersey troopers stopped their van and opened fire
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July 10, 2000

Shot Through The Heart

The hoop dreams of four young men were shattered—and the issue of racial profiling was brought into sharp focus—when New Jersey troopers stopped their van and opened fire

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He feels responsible for starting the trip and for ending it. "I brought them together," Keshon says. "I was the driver. It was rented for me. I was controlling the vehicle. I told the police it was a mistake. They said, 'You tried to run us over.' "

As for the troopers, they await trial on the criminal charges, to be followed by trial of the civil suits. Kenna, who is married with a two-year-old son at home, is the son of a state police captain. Raised in an Irish-Catholic family, he studied graphic design in college and had no intention of following in his father's footsteps. But for the sake of job stability, he did. His lawyer says that regardless of the outcome of the trials, Kenna is through with police work.

Not Hogan. The son of a warehouse worker and homemaker who raised five children, he played football and basketball in high school and graduated with the single purpose of becoming a New Jersey state trooper. He succeeded in 1993, the year before Kenna. Hogan will not discuss the shooting, but asked if he's sorry for what happened, he swallows and seems to fight back tears. "This is about my reputation, my life," he says. "It's not about being a trooper anymore." Then he pauses and admits he can't imagine life without his badge. "Law enforcement is the one direction I knew I wanted to go."

His victims wanted only to go further as basketball players, and with the exception of Rayshawn, they struggle with the loss of this purpose. Gannon, who coached Danny Reyes at Curtis High, keeps a deflated ball on his desk to remind his players of life after basketball. "We try to tell them to not let [playing hoops] be the high point of their lives," he says. Too often, he acknowledges, it is.

Reflecting on the shooting, Jarmaine Grant says, "I try to live my life as if it never happened, but then I see my friends playing ball, and I know I can't play, and it hits me. We went on this trip with high hopes and high dreams. You go to sleep in paradise and wake up in hell."

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