By Ashley Oliver
On Halloween night, tragedy struck when 19-year-old York College student Peyton Manwaring was shot and killed in Jamaica, Queens.
Manwaring was with his longtime friend Marcus Mendez, 18, in front of Mendez’s house on 144th Street in Rosedale when an unidentified gunman shot both men around 8:30 p.m. Manwaring died that night and Mendez died the following Wednesday.
Police said that marijuana and packaging materials were found at the crime scene and that the shooting may have been drug related. But Manwaring’s relatives continue to search for clues connected to the murder.
“Peyton was a special boy. Very loving and very respectful,” said Anthony Manwaring, Peyton’s father. “He cared about the less fortunate and other people around him, He was quiet, but he definitely had a presence.”
Some of Manwaring’s friends believed the main motive of his murder may have been related to jealousy.
Former York student, 19-year old Brian Baril, said Manwaring’s good looks and popularity might have made others envious.
“He was a good dude,” said Baril. “He smiled a lot, always helped people. What’s not to like? But then again that’s what some people don’t like.”
But 19-year old Kyle Reid, a sophomore at Queens Community College does not believe there was a reason to be jealous of Manwaring.
“He was loved by many of his friends and family,” said Reid. “Someone could’ve been jealous of him, but I wouldn’t know why.”
In a recent interview, Manwaring’s father recalled his last memory of his son. He said for his birthday on Oct. 21t, he cooked Peyton’s favorite meal. He also reminisced on how positive Peyton remained when his older, brother 22-year-old Anthony Manwaring, passed away from cancer in August.
“My son always made sure people were happy, even when he was hurting,” said Manwaring, “He was a quiet kid, but he sure knew how to make you feel like something.”
Manwaring also stressed the importance of adolescents learning how to communicate when they are angry. He added that he does not believe people involved in violence think about their families before committing crimes.
“Trying to solve a conflict with guns is unnecessary,” said Manwaring. “Kids who turn to guns don’t understand that they’re not only putting themselves in danger, but their parents, too. I already lost my son, but when he gets caught, they’re gonna lose their son, too.”
He advises parents to talk to their children about peer pressure and ways to resolve conflict.
“The ease at which kids can get access to guns is ridiculous,” said Manwaring. “These days, if you look at kids the wrong way, they’re ready to kill you.”
With his son gone, Manwaring believes the best way to honor him is to donate to the less fortunate and remain humble. He also hopes that his son’s death can be a lesson to teenagers to stop gun violence.
York Special-Education major Nickyia Nivens, 19, said she would always remember Manwaring for keeping positive.
“No matter what he always kept a smile on his face,” she said. “When I was upset, he always found a way to make me laugh or smile. Even when his brother passed, he kept a smile on his face. That’s what I will do every time I’m mad, think of Peyton.”