Hardworking teen gunned down in N. Philly

JOSEPH KACZMAREK / FOR THE DAILY NEWS Shots rang out late Saturday near Franklin Street and Montgomery Avenue, striking this police SUV and Jameer Haynesworth, 16.
JOSEPH KACZMAREK / FOR THE DAILY NEWS Shots rang out late Saturday near Franklin Street and Montgomery Avenue, striking this police SUV and Jameer Haynesworth, 16.
Posted: June 25, 2014

THE LAST TIME Monica Haynesworth saw her son Jameer, he was standing in her driveway, about to walk over to a friend's house.

He had come home from seeing a movie, "Think Like a Man Too." She reminded him to close the gate to their back yard, said goodnight to the 16-year-old and turned in for the night.

That was about 10 p.m. Saturday, she said. An hour later, she was awoken by the sound of someone pounding at her door.

"I knew something was wrong right away," Haynesworth said yesterday in her home on Franklin Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia.

Jameer Haynesworth was gunned down Saturday night, caught in the crossfire of a gunbattle that erupted while police were dispersing a large crowd.

He was hit once in the back of his head, and died about 10 minutes later at Temple University Hospital, where officers took him after the shooting, police said.

A longtime friend of Jameer's who was next to him when the shots rang out said the teen was among a group of kids sitting on the stoop of her house, near Franklin Street and Montgomery Avenue, when police came to break up a crowd that had gathered about a block away, at 8th Street and Montgomery.

According to police, officers were called to the location and started to disperse the crowd toward the house where Jameer and his friends were gathered when the shots rang out.

"I heard 'pow, pow, pow,' and I ran inside," said the friend, whose name the Daily News is withholding because she is a minor. "My mom went to the door, and she just collapsed, crying.

"That's when I went out and saw [Jameer] lying there."

She fought back tears yesterday as she remembered Jameer, who was a fixture in her home. He loved her mom's cooking, she said, and often stopped by for a plate at Thanksgiving and family cookouts.

"It's so unfair; he didn't do anything to anybody," she said.

Monica Haynesworth echoed that sentiment yesterday.

"The sky was the limit for him," she said. "Anything he put his mind to, he could accomplish."

Jameer was a good student and a hard worker, to hear his mom tell it: He was honored earlier this month at Simon Gratz High School for receiving the highest score on a college-preparedness exam.

"He loved school, loved to learn," she said. "He wanted to go to college, to work, to be somebody."

He also worked hard at home, helping his mom run errands and chores.

"He was the man of the house - I never knew how much I relied on him until he was gone," Haynesworth said.

Jameer's work ethic catalyzed when his father died in 2006, Haynesworth said.

"It hurt him real bad, but it motivated him," she said. "Even his older brother looked up to him as a role model."

It's hard for her to think about how to move on, and she has trouble even leaving her home, in a neighborhood where she once felt safe.

"I don't want to look out there and see where my son was murdered," she said. "I'm sure that will change later; I can't bring him back by feeling that way.

"All I can do is hold on to the good memories of my son."

Jameer's family is holding a viewing for him Friday at the Word of Life Healing Ministry at 55th and Thompson streets in West Philadelphia, Haynesworth said.

A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday at the National Temple Baptist Church at 17th and Master streets.


On Twitter: @Vellastrations

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