A Hempstead man shot dead outside a housing project in Queens was remembered Wednesday night by his youth basketball coaches as a standout competitor with a gift for the game from an early age.
The man, 24-year-old Jabeon Bivins, was declared dead at the scene, the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway, after the Monday night shooting, according to the NYPD.
"There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing," a department news release said.
Surveillance video, released by the NYPD Tuesday night, shows two gunmen, one in a gray hoodie, another in a red one, walking at a brisk pace in a housing project courtyard before pulling out guns and opening fire, aiming at someone or something off camera. A half dozen people nearby are seen fleeing for their lives or scrambling to the ground.
One of his coaches, Darius Burton of Baldwin High School, heard about the shooting from a former player who had sent along a posting on social media.
"He was a Hempstead kid. He came to Baldwin for three years. He played for me for three years," the coach said of Bivins. "He was one of my guards on my 2016 team that went upstate, as a junior he went upstate."
Burton, who has been Baldwin's coach for 22 years, said Bivens was a point guard with an ability not typically seen for the position — he could score.
"Very strong. Could really score the ball, Burton said. "And Baldwin basketball really grew into him. He worked hard on the court. It's just a tremendous tragedy to be so young."
The coach said Bivins had been close with the now-former Hempstead mayor, Don Ryan.
"Don Ryan called me and asked me to keep an eye on this kid and take him under my wing, which I did," Burton said, adding: "He knew I was hard on him for his own good, and he appreciated that."
In an interview, Ryan said that Bivins came out for the seventh grade team he coached — even though Bivins was a sixth grader.
"He was dramatic about wanting to be with us, his mother was very supportive," and so he was put on the seventh grade team, given his talent.
Bivins would go on to travel with his teammates to Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans, Montreal and beyond.
"We had a chance to see him on and off the court. We were just in love with him. He was just a joy," Ryan said. "We had a few really good guards. He was a good defender. Unselfish on offense, and he could score. He was a complete ballplayer."