A 22-year-old Valley Stream man on his way home from visiting a college friend in Queens was shot to death on a Jamaica street Wednesday night -- just months before he was slated to earn his degree, police and relatives said.
Euton Christian, a LaGuardia Community College student majoring in political science, was shot about 11 p.m. after he stepped out of his car to check for damage after driving over a pothole, his family said.
His 16-year-old brother, Evan, was in the passenger seat when shots rang out, relatives said. He rushed to his brother's side and tried to stem his bleeding with a shirt but couldn't save him.
He was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, police said.
"He [Euton] didn't deserve this," said the victim's grieving mother, Janet Christian, 47. "I'm really hurt inside. He's not coming back."
Evan Christian told relatives he saw two groups of men arguing near 156th Street and 111th Avenue, where his brother had pulled the car over to check for damage, according to the siblings' uncle, Christopher Morgan, 40, of St. Albans.
A man fired on the other group, and two stray bullets struck Euton Christian in his torso, Evan Christian told his family.
A police source confirmed Evan Christian told investigators about his brother stepping out to check the car but said he did not mention the dispute.
No arrests have been made. The investigation continues.
"Euton probably didn't realize what was going on around him," said Morgan.
"He was always the first person to walk away from trouble," he said. "He just wanted to come home with his little brother."
The tragic night had started out innocently.
They had driven to Queens to visit one of Euton Christian's classmates in Jamaica, relatives said, hanging out at the friend's apartment for a few hours.
The siblings got a call from their mother about 10 p.m. asking them to return to Valley Stream, Morgan said.
Euton Christian promised her they would leave in five minutes.
But Janet Christian never saw her son alive again. "He was a good kid," she said. "I want to see justice."
Friends and relatives described Christian as a jovial, articulate, well-dressed man who spoke passionately about justice and his desire to be a lawyer.
He was a lifelong member of Trinity-St. John's Church in Hewlett, and served as a mentor to younger children, said the Rev. Owen Thompson.
"He was always one of those old souls who was way ahead of his time in terms of maturity," Thompson said. "He . . . had big plans for himself."
Thompson said Christian asked him to write letters of recommendation for his applications to college, where he hoped to earn his bachelor's degree before heading to law school.
With Anthony Destefano