Yesterday morning brought news of a gruesome triple homicide at a house within a mile from our home, which ended up involving a student at Albany High (where our daughter attends), an employee from the school district and Tom’s whole workday (along with his squad and much of the rest of the APD). The scene was a short distance from two elementary schools and on a busy commuter route to downtown; not normally an area known for violence. The story occupied the top spot on the news, which showed the typical exterior of the building pictures and the grieving family members reactions as the police did what they needed to do to investigate the murders.
Relatives and friends were distraught (in the photo you can see Tom and some other officers trying to keep one of them from running to one of the victims being taken out of the house). Family members were adamant that these were good people, seeming to refute the unspoken assumption that violence of this sort must be gang activity or associated with drug dealing and such. Sadly, it often is. The police continued to investigate and overnight a person brought in for questioning admitted he’d shot the three. From a news report:
31-year-old Jovan Underdue from Albany has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two men and a teenage boy. Underdue was arraigned this morning in Albany City Court as distraught friends and relatives of the victims looked on.
The bodies of 26-year-old Bobby Jones, 25-year-old Victor Anderson and 16-year-old Kenyon Hawkins were found in an Delaware Avenue apartment yesterday morning. Police say Underdue was a friend of Bobby Jones and went over to his apartment Tuesday afternoon. Police say the two began drinking and smoking marijuana. Hawkings was in the apartment and Anderson stopped over later. Underdue told police he started to get depressed about his life. That’s when he allegedly pulled out a gun and shot all three in the head. Police say Underdue then left and went to a girlfriend’s apartment on State Street where he hid the handgun and some other items for the shooting.
Horrific tragedy for the families of these three people, for their friends and neighborhood, because another man under the influence of two depressant substances – alcohol and marijuana – felt depressed about his life. I don’t know how having brutally murdered his friends and an unaware teenager as he played video games nearby changes his circumstances for the better, or under what kind of thought process murder became a vehicle for improvement. I know there isn’t one, that this is just senseless.
Update: Family members, outside Underdue’s arraignment this morning, said the following:
“We took him in, we fed him, we clothed him, we let him feel like he was our family,” a member of one victim’s family said.
Another relative, a sibling of Anderson, said, “My brother, Victor Anderson, and Keynon were all good people. My brother took that man [Underdue] in to help him, and this is how he repays my brother?”
And, another said:
“It’s hard to say forgive him, but I say forgive. I pray that our family just keep loving and that we keep learning how to forgive him,” one family member was quoted.
And for that ultimate grace, the one of forgiveness, I will stand with this family in prayer.