Last Friday evening April 9, 200 friends and family members of Durand Gordon gathered on Morris Avenue beneath 169th Street to honor their murdered friend. A large shrine had been set up on the street, a loving mess of candles, bottles, photographs and posters signed with notes in remembrance.
Gordon was 19 years old, killed April 1 at 169th Street and Morris Avenue, a corner that Gordon’s father and friends say is especially dangerous.
Gordon’s passion was breakdancing, and he performed not only in the Bronx but on subway cars going into Manhattan and out to Brooklyn, as well. Gordon was even mentioned in a New York Times feature article on subway performers almost exactly one year ago.
“He was such a great dancer,” said Durand Gordon Sr. of his son, who everyone called Rand or Ran. “Born and raised in the neighborhood. A community kid that everyone knew and loved.”
Durand’s father said that his son had come from dancing downtown, then he went into a store to buy a sandwich. While he was waiting he came outside to talk to a friend, and suddenly, “four guys were all up on them, one of them had a gun. And he shot my son.” Fighting back tears, Gordon Sr. noted his conviction that “they need a camera on 169th and Morris.”
Fifteen hundred people came for Gordon’s funeral on Thursday.
“There’s not enough of a police presence in the area to prevent murders like this,” railed Szkred, “And now, after it has happened, they won’t even let us assemble. The police came and said we need a permit 60 days in advance. But you don’t know 60 days in advance that someone’s going to die.”
Julio Santiago used to live in the same building as Gordon. “He and the other boys would go all over the city, all the big tourist attractions. Central Park, midtown.” Santiago explained that Gordon was on the USA Breeze Team of dancers. His father, too, break dances and has been in videos and performed with KRS-One. He taught all of his moves to Durand.
Mourners wore t-shirts that had pictures of Durand, while the members of his dance troupe wore special tees that said “Rand: Rest in Style.”
“He was born dancing,” said an older friend. “He was already dancing inside his mother’s stomach.”
Reach Daniel Roberts at (718) 742-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org