NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A man found shot to death in a park in New Rochelle this past weekend was a student at Iona College just entering adulthood.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, a suspect has been arrested and charged with murder as the victim’s family mourns.READ MORE: Connecticut Man Who Tested Positive For Omicron Variant Resting At Home With Mild Symptoms, Gov. Lamont Says
“He was a good kid,” said the victim’s sister, Briana Lawrence. “He just went to school, he worked, and he came home.”
Brandon Lawrence’s heartbroken sister spoke with CBS2 in Yonkers, hours after identifying her brother’s body.
The Iona College freshman died on a New Rochelle ballfield in the wee hours of Sunday morning at the very start of his life as an adult.
“We celebrated his birthday two weeks ago, March 14. He just turned 19,” said the victim’s aunt, Denise Young. “(He was) just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Brandon Lawrence commuted to the Iona campus from his family’s home on Cliff Avenue in Yonkers. He graduated last year from Lincoln High, where he played basketball.
Police said he was riding in a car with several friends and a new acquaintance when a disagreement arose – perhaps over a girl. The car was parked in a lot near Lincoln Park in New Rochelle.
“We received phone calls from citizens in the area about 3:15 in the morning, on Sunday morning,” said New Rochelle police Capt. Robert Gazzola. “They heard what sounded like three different gunshots.”READ MORE: Bob Dole, Former Senate GOP Leader And Presidential Nominee, Dies At 98
Whatever the beef, Brandon Lawrence and one of the car’s occupants decided to settle the quarrel with their fists on the ballfield. During the fight, one of the other occupants pulled out a gun, shot Lawrence, and ran.
Police arrested their suspect at his home in New Rochelle. His first court appearance came Monday afternoon on a charge of murder.
The suspect – Stevenson Desir, 19 – decided to stay in his holding cell to avoid TV cameras. But police released his mugshot.
He was arrested based on information from witnesses, police said.
Police as of late Monday had not found the gun used in the shooting.
Desir’s friends and supporters hid their faces as they left the courthouse and said nothing. Meanwhile, the victim’s family struggled to make sense of it all.
“He’d go to work, he’d go to church, he’d go to school,” Denise Young said. “He just went to a party at Iona College – at his college — and just come home; waited on his ride to come home.”MORE NEWS: NYPD: Man Stabbed In Thigh During Robbery In Theater District
A memorial service for Lawrence was being planned at Iona College. Desir will be back in court for a bail hearing next week.