Kelmyne Jones died at 16 in a street fight that went from bad to worse. With him holding another boy in a headlock, an even younger teenager retrieved a handgun that had been tucked under a bush, and moments later Jones was fatally shot.
The group of about 11 boys scattered – even Jones. He staggered about 80 feet, up the driveway of a home that houses a day care center. That’s where his body was found.
This is according to a resident in the 200 block of Buffalo’s Northland Avenue, who saw the fight rage almost in her front yard Saturday. Several residents in the 200 block, a stable section of mostly owner-occupied homes a few blocks east of Main Street in the center of the city, saw bits and pieces of the tragedy on an otherwise calm day.
“We’ve never had a problem like that over here,” said one resident, Catherine Davis, sitting on her porch 24 hours later, while children played outside. “This is really strange for us,” she said.
Residents in the 200 block had heard Jones, a Buffalo school student, referred to as Jowon, his middle name. They believed his father is also named Kelmyne J. Jones, and a man by that name has a court record for low-level crimes. But for the most part, residents knew little about the young Kelmyne Jones because he lived in another section of Buffalo – five blocks south on Goulding Avenue, Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge revealed late Sunday.
Jones was with a group of five boys who marched onto Northland around 4 p.m. Saturday to confront six other youths who live around Northland Avenue and Lonsdale Road. They were engaged in a territorial rivalry and had been sparring for a few days, said a neighbor who was outside grilling dinner when the gangs clashed.
The youths fought for a few minutes, then most just watched while two boys pushed, shoved and wrestled. One was the shooting victim police later identified as Jones, and he appeared to have his opponent in a headlock, the witness said. She said she gave detectives a statement but was unwilling to have her name published, fearing some retaliation.
At one point, a boy from the local gang hustled to retrieve something from under a bush just steps away, not far from Agape AME Church. Just weeks ago, on June 19, police acting on a tip found a .38-caliber revolver in the same area. The boy, believed to be about 13, the neighbor said, was grabbing another gun that had been tucked away.
Soon after, shots were fired, and the street was empty within seconds.
Neighbors thought that if someone had been shot, the wounds could not have been serious. After the police arrived, a resident saw a human form lying far up a driveway that serves the “Sent from Heaven Child Care.” It was Jones’ body. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy is scheduled for today.
The witness and others in the neighborhood believe they know who pulled the trigger, and police are looking for that boy. Reports circulated that the local gang was out to steal the sneakers that Jones wore. Monique Broadus, who lives nearby, said the fighters wanted to take something from Jones as a sign of victory, and the sneakers would do.
She said that some boys in that part of the city have too much time on their hands. When idle days combine with misguided values, bad things happen, she said.
“You have bad kids and you have good kids on every block,” she said. “You have the haves and the have-nots. If you teach kids how to do well, they will become men.
“They need jobs,” she said. “They just can’t be out in the city doing nothing.”