[ UPDATE ]
What this story isn't saying is John Crowder went back to his old neighborhood after his grandmother said he could come back home. The young man needed structure and discipline. His grandmother didn't provide the discipline.
In the toughest sections of Baltimore, even the most hopeful stories can end up breaking your heart.
That's what Brodie Crowder wants you to know about the murder of his cousin, John.
John Crowder spent most of the last two years trying to straighten out his life. He earned solid grades in his classes at Towson Catholic and Mount Carmel. On the basketball court, the 6-foot-8 teenager soared over competitors to snare rebounds and cram home dunks. Coaches knew him as a big puppy dog who greeted them with hugs and broke up the room with his crazy laugh. Division I recruiters had their eyes on him, and the scholarship he badly wanted seemed a sure thing.
That made it so much harder when the calls began buzzing around the city's tight-knit basketball community on Monday morning. The baby-faced kid, known as "Big John" since the sixth grade, had been shot and left bleeding in a yard near his grandmother's house in Northeast Baltimore. He died a few hours later at nearby Johns Hopkins Hospital. Police sources say he had drugs on him when he was found. No one has been arrested.
This young man had what many, too damn many, young Black men don't have, and that is people who care and who do things to help steer them to the right path and keep them there. The sad thing is, if he didn't have basketball skills, he probably would have met harm earlier.
IMO, his grandmother loved him so much she let him slide. That love killed him.