Crime

Friends heartbroken, frustrated after Raleigh high school basketball player killed

In April, Greear Webb grabbed a friend he’d known since kindergarten to take a photo together at their senior prom. It was the last photo they would take together.

Webb’s friend and Sanderson High classmate Desmond Jenkins, 18, was fatally shot Friday night on Prince George Lane in North Raleigh. Police have not identified any suspects but are seeking information about a black Chevrolet Avalanche with chrome rims.

Webb, 18, not only lost a friend, but lost him to an gun violence, an issue he has spoken out against at a town hall forum on school safety last year at Sanderson High.

“My first reaction was heartbreak,” he said. “To find out he died as a result of gun violence was even more frustrating.”

They played basketball together in middle school, and Jenkins, who played for Sanderson, was going to play in college too.

“He was a great guy to be around. We would spend afternoons studying together,” Webb said.

Jenkins was heading to Vance-Granville Community College, where basketball coach Gregory E. Ackles said in a tweet Saturday: “Please pray for the family of Desmond Jenkins and #vgcchoops. ... Just in disbelief.”

After Jenkins lost a cousin who played basketball in college, he took his game to the next level, said Javon Prim, 17, another childhood friend.

“We called him a defense specialist. He had great energy and made plays that we were surprised that he made,” Prim said. “He was the kind of person who would wake up at 5 a.m. to go play.”

Prim and Jenkins met as neighbors when they were little and had stayed close. Prim played with Jenkins on Sanderson’s basketball team throughout high school and were close friends. Prim was usually the person Jenkins called when he wanted to play basketball at odd hours.

“I am going to miss everything about him,” Prim said. “The stories, the inside jokes, the sleepless nights, the early mornings. I’m going to miss everything. He is definitely one of a kind. There is never going to be another Desmond. He was my first friend.”

Readers can contribute money to help Desmond Jenkins’ family at this PayPal link: bit.ly/2YL0RMr.

A public viewing is Aug. 15, from noon to 8 p.m. at Steven L. Lyons Funeral Home, 1515 New Bern Ave., Raleigh, according to his obituary.

His funeral will be at 1 p.m. Aug. 16, with a visitation at 12:30 p.m. at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 581 New Hope Church Road, Apex, according to his obituary.

Police ask anyone who may have information in the Jenkins’ death to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-HELP.

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Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.
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