NEW ORLEANS - Family and friends gathered Saturday outside the home where Brandon Adams, 15, lived with his family in Desire.
They remembered the 8th grade honors student at KIPP Believe College Prep as a "happy-go-lucky kid," a mama's boy who loved to cook and play sports. They said Adams would have played football at Warren Easton next year.
Adams was shot to death near the intersection of Montegut Street and Higgins Boulevard just after 8:30 Friday night, according to police. Adams' 18-year-old brother, who Eyewitness News has chosen not to identify, has been released from the hospital after being shot in the back and the leg.
A teen friend of Adams, who asked not to be identified, saw him shortly before the shooting. Adams and his brother were leaving Sampson Park in New Orleans after Adams' usual pick-up game of basketball.
"He just grabbed me a gave me a tight hug and he ain't never ever gave me a hug like that before," said the friend. "He was like, 'I know I don't know you that long but I love you, you my friend and stuff, I'm going to see you tomorrow at the park.'"
About 30 minutes later, Adams was killed. Police said he and his brother stopped at a nearby convenience store. Police believe the two were walking on Higgins Boulevard to get back home when two masked black males on foot fired at them. Neighbors said they heard more than a dozen shots.
Police said the two brothers fled down Montegut Street, while the shooters continued to fire. Police said Adams collapsed at the corner of Montegut and Pleasure Street. There are still bullet holes near the window of a home across the street.
"He was a friendly person, he was a person that made everybody laugh," said Adams' friend. "Just keep the prayers open for his mom, somebody needs to help his mama out. I pray for her."
Neighbors say long stretches of blight and broken street lights contribute to problems in the area.
"If they stay in this area, they have to pass a blighted area to get to the activities they want to go to at the park," said Rockelle Burbank, who lives in the area.
Meanwhile, Brandon's friends and family continue to remember the teen who made them smile.
"I'm never going to see him again," said his friend. "He's not going to be that person to make me laugh or nothing no more."
Adams attended KIPP Central City last year.
"I can attest to how hard Brandon worked. He focused so hard on the writing process, expressing his thoughts, and developing habits of success... Most of all, though, Brandon was a BIG kid. His playfulness was contagious with other students. He was a true kid at heart, and it's a great tragedy that he has been ripped from our lives so early," said Tania Roubion, Adams' 7th grade writing teacher.
"Brandon was a beloved member of our school communities and will be dearly missed by students and staff. At this time our thoughts and prayers are with Brandon’s family," KIPP New Orleans Schools said in a statement.
A spokesman for KIPP said grief counselors would be available Monday at both KIPP Believe and KIPP Central City.
Police have not yet named any suspects or determined a motive. They are unsure whether Adams and his brother were the intended targets.
If you have any information, you're asked to call police or Crimestoppers. That number is 822-1111.