By Ashley Oliver
Family and friends of the 16-year old boy who was fatally shot on New Year’s Eve are still waiting to find out who killed their son.
Jihad Jackson, 16, a junior at Law Enforcement High School, was shot in the neck at a New Year’s Eve party shortly before midnight in Jamaica, Queens. Jackson became the city’s last murder victim of 2015.
His mother, Marguerite Tolson-Jackson, said she regrets sending her son to the city by himself that night. He was supposed to go straight home but stopped at the party instead.
“He would have still been alive,” Tolson-Jackson said as she recalled her last conversation with her son over the phone. “I told him to be careful and I warned him over and over again to stay inside.”
Police arrested three people for evidence tampering, but the killer has not been identified. Officials at 113th Precinct in Jamaica said there is no clear motive behind Jackson’s murder.
Rosedale resident Andre Corleone, 18, said he believes the murder would have been solved already if Jackson were not African-American.
“Anytime there’s a murder in the hood, it always goes unsolved,” said Corleone. “You never hear them even trying to find the killers. It never happens but I’m sure if he was white, they would have solved this case a month ago.”
But Wayne Jackson, Jihad’s father, has lingering questions about the trio that was arrested in connection with his son’s death, a woman, her son and her boyfriend. Police said the woman told her son and boyfriend to wrap Jihad’s body in a sheet and drag him outside onto the street, then she discarded bloody cloths and clothing.
“There’s no mistake and no more looking for answers,” said Jackson. “How can you drag a boy and cover up the body before you call for help?”
But, York College Movement-Science Major Shavonique English said she believes Jackson’s death could have been prevented if the NYPD was more active.
“Jamaica has so many cops walking around and every time there’s a crime, a cop is never in sight,” said English. “For the number of them they have around this neighborhood there really shouldn’t be any crime.”
Rosedale resident, Anthony Manwaring Sr., also lost his son to gun violence last year. He said he is saddened by the increase of youth dying from guns.
“These kids don’t get it,” said Manwaring. “They’re only hurting themselves because they’re killing out their generation. They don’t think about themselves or their families.”
Jihad Jackson became the city’s 350th homicide victim of 2015, up from 333 the previous year, a 5.1 percent increase.
But Jackson’s relatives and friends said they are maintaining hope that they will find his killer.
“It just surprises me that there’s no public sight for unsolved murder cases,” said York College’s Student Government Executive Director Jerome Barrett. “They’re hiding murders because the NYPD wants to increase gentrification in Jamaica,” he said. “To make the neighborhood look good they will hide unsolved murders but it’s bad for the people that live there.”
For now, the police are continuing to investigate and look for possible motives for the 16-year-old’s murder. Officials from 113th advise teenagers and young adults to travel in groups when they travel late at night.