By Meredith Kennedy
Two days after 30-year-old Moses Harrell was shot to death in Fort Greene, a police officer from the 88th precinct kept watch from his scooter outside of the family’s apartment at 95B Vanderbilt Ave. where bunches of black balloons and messages of sympathy hang at the foot of the porch. The victim’s killer remains unidentified.
Early Sunday evening, Harrell’s mother returned home from church to the quiet, tree-lined street where she lived with her son to find him dead in the backyard after an argument. According to police, the suspect was male and fled the scene in a dark car. Harrell’s older sister Beverley Burton, who lives nearby, does not know what precisely led to the shooting or who is responsible for her brother’s death. “It’s under investigation, that’s why the cops are here,” Burton said, wearing a long black coat with a picture of Michael Jackson pinned to the chest.
Harrell’s girlfriend, who was dressed in all black and declined to give her name, is also unsure about what happened. “We’re just really somber right now,” she said as she left the apartment and walked down the street to Walgreens with a friend and her young daughter.
The neighbors are just as confused as the family. An older man who lives down the street and refused his name was sleeping when the shooting happened and woke up to the sound of helicopters. “I’ve lived here 44 years and never had no problem,” he said as he walked back to his apartment down the street late Tuesday afternoon. “Not even a fire that I remember.”
A woman who lives just a few doors down from Harrell was also sleeping when she heard the gunshots. “I looked out the window and I didn’t see anything,” she said as she accepted a package from a UPS deliveryman. “It was very smooth-in, out, gone.”
Soon after, Maria Perez, a friend of Harrell’s, walked her son and daughter home from school and paused in front of the apartment to pay her respects. Tears began to roll down her face as she kneeled down and made the sign of the cross in front of a headstone that read “RIP.” “I just saw him here three days ago and he smiled and waved at us,” Perez said, choking up. “He loved my children and my daughter called him black chocolate. I hope he is rested in peace.”
Harrell, says his sister, was a gentle soul who was well known in the neighborhood. He left behind a 7-year-old daughter, Damaya and a 1-year-old son, Zaione. “The kids adored him, the women loved him, and the guys wanted to be him,” Burton said. Harrell’s mother is trying to cope, and she prefers not to talk to anyone yet. She came outside to get the mail surrounded by friends, but quickly returned back inside in her black fleece and sweatpants.
Editor’s note: Moses Harrell’s age was incorrectly posted as 20 years old in the original article. Harrell was 30.