A few minutes shy of 11 p.m. on April 23, 1998, Keshon Moore was
driving south on the New Jersey Turnpike, less than an hour into
a 12-hour trip to North Carolina. His silver Dodge Caravan was on
a stretch of highway that cuts through the central part of the
state. Sandwiched between the refineries and sports arenas to the
north and the farms and water towers to the south, the road is
straight, wide and flat. There are no smokestacks or tall office
buildings to provide distractions. The challenge for drivers is
to stay focused; for passengers, to stay awake.
State troopers John Hogan and James Kenna had been patrolling
the turnpike for two hours when they spotted the Caravan.
Keshon's heart began to race when he saw the police cruiser come
up on his left, but he relaxed when it roared past. He figured
it was chasing some speeder up ahead. Keshon, 22, hadn't owned a
car for more than a year. He was driving a minivan rented by his
girlfriend's mother. None of his three passengers knew that
Keshon's license had been suspended because of a few unpaid
parking tickets. "I was very leery because of my license,"
Keshon remembers. "I was doing 55 on the dot."
Crunched into the front passenger seat was 6'7" Danny Reyes, 20,
Keshon's former basketball teammate at Curtis High on Staten
Island in New York City. Behind them slept two friends from the
city playground courts--Rayshawn Brown, 20, and Jarmaine Grant,
23--both oblivious to the hip-hop tunes of DJ Clue that were
blaring from the van's tape deck.
Suddenly the police cruiser slowed, and the Caravan pulled even
with it. The two vehicles rode side by side for half a mile
before the cruiser backed off. Keshon, puzzled, drove on
carefully, but then the police car slipped in behind him, and its
flashing lights came on.
Even on a turnpike where driving 75 mph is rarely ticketed, this
was not a night for speeding. Traffic was heavy, and a steady
rain had left the highway glistening and slick. Keshon had
traveled roughly 50 miles in 50 minutes to this rural patch of
Mercer County. By the time the cruiser appeared, the Caravan's
beige-carpeted floor resembled the floor of a college dorm room,
littered with gym bags, cassettes, sneakers, two New York Yankees
caps, bottles of Snapple, bags of chips, a Bible and a copy of
John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Keshon slowed down quickly
when he saw the flashing lights in his rearview mirror, and the
cruiser almost rammed him from behind. Both cars pulled into the
The young men in the van had planned to drive all night and
arrive before noon in Durham, where coaches at North Carolina
Central University were holding an informal tryout for a few
dozen players. For the four New Yorkers, it was a last chance.
They weren't stars, and they were already in their 20s. Any hope
they had of landing a college scholarship and keeping alive their
dream of playing professionally, maybe in the CBA or in Europe,
rested on this journey. Now the police were interrupting it.
Keshon was sure he hadn't been speeding. He wasn't thinking that
his race alone might be reason enough for the police to stop him.
It had happened to Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, who
was wrestled to the ground at Los Angeles Airport in 1988 by
police who suspected that he was a drug dealer. It had happened
to Toronto Raptors guard Dee Brown, stopped at gunpoint outside a
Wellesley, Mass., post office in 1990 (when Brown was with the
Boston Celtics) by officers who suspected that he had been
involved in a crime nearby. It had happened to track coach and
former Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner in 1992, when he was
stopped and handcuffed for suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle
(it turned out to be his wife's, and he was released); he was
stopped again two blocks later on suspicion of having committed a
felony hit-and-run (he was again released). Racial profiling is
one of the most volatile civil rights issues in the U.S., and
even the most successful African-Americans are not immune to it.
Blacks say the police target them for no reason but their skin
color. On the roads they call it DWB: Driving While Black.
Tap-tap-tap. State trooper Kenna, then 27, in his navy shirt with
gold shoulder stripes, banged his long black flashlight on the
passenger window of the Caravan. Kenna held the flashlight in his
left hand; in his right he held a 9-mm Glock. "Put your hands
up!" he shouted. State trooper Hogan, 28, who had been driving
the police car, stood 10 feet behind the van, between it and the
Keshon thought he had slipped the van into park as he came to a
stop, but he had mistakenly put it in reverse. When he saw
Kenna's flashlight and gun and heard the officer order everyone
to show hands, Keshon's foot came off the brake. The van lurched
backward toward the idling police cruiser--and Hogan.
Both troopers were startled. Kenna stepped sideways to follow the
van backward, shouting to Keshon to stop and everyone inside to
put up his hands. Hogan jumped to the side to avoid being struck.
The van rolled slowly toward the cruiser, with Kenna on the
passenger side and Hogan now on the driver's side. The troopers
couldn't see each other, and that made them more anxious. Kenna
raised his gun with both hands and pointed it at the window, and
Keshon dived from the driver's seat onto the floor behind the
passenger seat, where he curled into a fetal position. The van
"Don't shoot, don't shoot!" Danny hollered at Kenna while raising
his hands. Rayshawn, who was asleep in the van's middle seat,
still fights back tears when he tries to tell what happened next:
He woke up to the sound of gunfire.
The trip south had been Keshon's idea. He knew the coaches at
North Carolina Central. He made the calls. He collected the $76
from each passenger for the minivan rental, gas and tolls. He
decided who would be picked up where and when.
"I was excited," Keshon says. "I was strong. I was hitting the
weights. My game was flourishing." He speaks softly, politely,
his head down. When your father is a retired U.S. Coast Guard
petty officer and your mother is a corrections officer at Riker's
Island, a New York City jail crammed with some of the most
violent criminals on the planet, talking back is out of the
"My standards were very high," Keshon's father, Rodney Moore,
says. "Keshon was always shy, very respectful. He never gave me
The basketball world is full of Keshon Moores, 5'9" point guards
who refuse to believe they're too short until they wake up one
morning with no scholarship, no direction, only a jump shot and a
dream. For every Dana Barros, Travis Best and Damon Stoudamire,
thousands of Keshon Moores dot the playgrounds around the
country. As a military brat, Keshon bounced from Spain to Arizona
to Texas to California and finally, in 1987, to the Coast Guard
base on Governor's Island in New York Harbor.
At Curtis High, Keshon's grades were mediocre, his skills solid.
"If it wasn't a layup, Keshon didn't take the shot," recalls Tim
Gannon, Curtis's basketball coach and assistant principal. "He
was very unselfish, the prototypical point guard." He led the
team to the 1994 Staten Island championship and finished as the
school's alltime assist leader.
Keshon went on to Westchester Community College, in Valhalla,
N.Y., where he hoped to improve his grades as well as his game.
After two years there he got a scholarship at North Carolina
Central, a Division II school, but he didn't stay long. With two
point guards ahead of him, he redshirted and quickly lost
interest in school. He returned to New York, moved in with a
girlfriend in Manhattan and worked occasionally as a barber and a
security guard. "I was hurt and depressed for a while," Keshon
says. "My pops, he was mad at me."
That's an understatement. "I was devastated," Rodney Moore says.
"He was treated royally, and he didn't take advantage of his
opportunity. Get your bachelor's degree and then decide what you
Now, in the spring of 1998, Keshon was determined to give North
Carolina Central a second try. He would go to summer school and
try to walk on with the team. Basketball practice was to start on
Saturday, April 25. Keshon planned to enroll as soon as he
arrived on campus on Friday.
The first bullet from Kenna's Glock pierced the front passenger
window but didn't shatter it, leaving a spiderweb of cracks in
the glass. The bullet screamed down past Danny and Keshon,
missing them by inches, and lodged near the bottom of the
"Don't shoot, don't shoot!" Danny shouted as he put up his hands.
Now everyone was alert, diving for cover, curling up for
The Caravan bumped into the police car and started it rolling
down a slight grade. The cruiser came to a rest about 100 feet
Kenna cleared the glass from the cracked passenger window with
his flashlight. Danny was lying down to shield himself, but Kenna
would say it looked as if Danny were trying to reach for
something, or even get into the driver's seat, which Keshon had
just vacated. Danny, only a few feet from Kenna, begged him not
to shoot again.
"The van's not in park!" Danny shouted. "Stop shooting!" But as
he leaned toward the driver's seat and reached for the gearshift,
two bullets ripped into his right arm.
"Please don't shoot!" he begged. Still reaching for the
gearshift, he pulled himself forward by grabbing the steering
wheel and turning it. A third bullet hit beneath his left
shoulder. A fourth entered his right hip. Blood pooled on the
passenger seat in a heap of glass shards.
At Curtis High, many of Keshon's passes wound up in the hands of
a skinny, mocha-colored forward one year behind him, a Puerto
Rican with Division I skills but a soft side that frustrated his
coaches. Danny Reyes had caught the attention of recruiters, who
invited him at age 11 to join New York City's elite amateur team,
the Gauchos. He was a 1995 honorable mention McDonald's
All-American, and of the four young men in the van that April
night, he had the best chance of succeeding in basketball.
"He was such a quiet kid, almost to his detriment," says Richard
Potter, the assistant coach at Curtis who first saw Danny play in
CYO leagues. "He had long arms, he could put it on the floor. I
wanted to get him fired up. He could have been an All-American."
But fired up wasn't his nature. The son of a retired policewoman
and a retired truck driver, Danny is the youngest of four
children in a close Christian family. Once when a brawl erupted
in a hallway at Curtis, with seven or eight guys throwing
haymakers, Danny was the peacekeeper, pulling bodies away until
guards arrived. He still has the Good Samaritan certificate
awarded him the next day.
After helping Curtis repeat as champion in 1995, Danny graduated
and went with his parents to Puerto Rico for the summer, where he
played in the professional Superior Basketball League. "I hoped
it was the start of something big," he says. When summer ended,
he moved back to New York to live with his sister in Queens.
He had interest from Hartford, Marist, Hofstra, South Carolina
State and Maryland-Baltimore County, but he thought playing at a
junior college would be a surer route to a big basketball school.
It wasn't. He bounced from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
in Tifton, Ga., to New York City Technical College to the Puerto
Rico league again in 1996, playing, studying and waiting for the
Division I offer that would never come. A bone bruise to his left
knee in 1997 forced him to rest, and suddenly his future was not
so promising. "I knew he probably could have been a better
player," says Ralph Menar, who coached Danny as a youngster in
the Police Athletic League, "but it's not the first time I saw
Danny was back at New York City Technical College in April 1998,
closing in on his Associate degree in liberal arts, when he
decided to give basketball one more try and accompany Keshon
After it bumped the cruiser, the van continued rolling backward,
and the shooting continued too. Not just from Kenna, but now from
Hogan as well. Bullets blasted into the rear driver's side of the
minivan, where Rayshawn was cowering in the middle seat and
Jarmaine in the rear. One bullet struck Jarmaine's right knee,
another hit his ribs, and a third entered his right arm. His
wounded leg was pinned beneath the middle seat. "I'm hit, I'm
hit!" he screamed.
If raw talent had brought Danny to the van that night, hard work
and determination had gotten Leroy Jarmaine Grant there. He and
his younger brother and two older sisters were raised in a public
housing project in the heart of Harlem, at 129th Street and
Seventh Avenue. Jarmaine once watched paramedics carry out of the
building a five-year-old girl who had been hit by a stray bullet
from the street.
Jarmaine played year-round on the court at the St. Nicholas
Playground. When his hands got too cold on winter days, he would
bolt into the Laundromat across the street, toss a quarter into a
dryer, warm his gloves and run back out to play. "Jarmaine is a
basketball fiend," says Pat Mangan, his coach at Rice High, a
city basketball power, where Jarmaine led one of the two varsity
squads in scoring. "I had to throw him out of the gym."
He graduated in 1993, and when the offers he had hoped for didn't
come, he stayed close to home and played at Westchester Community
College, where he made a new friend: his roommate, Keshon Moore.
Jarmaine became one of the top 50 junior college three-point
shooters in the country while earning his two-year degree. He was
back in the city in April 1998, living with his mom and thinking
about his next move, when Keshon invited him to drive to North
Rayshawn heard his friends screaming and saw Keshon's legs in the
space between the two front seats. He felt the van moving slowly
backward and reached to open the sliding door next to him. But
just as he grabbed the handle, the van bumped the police cruiser
behind it and, as Danny got hold of the steering wheel, veered
with its lights out into the dark southbound lanes of the
turnpike, directly into the path of a Honda Civic. The collision
was fierce. The Honda struck the van, then went left and slammed
into the center concrete barrier.
Rayshawn lost his grip on the door handle. He winced in pain as a
bullet ripped into his chest from the side, exited and lodged in
his right forearm. Danny, jostled by the collision but still
frantically reaching for the gearshift, threw the van into drive,
causing it to start forward.
The van, now perpendicular to traffic, moved slowly off the
highway, across the breakdown lane and toward an embankment.
After all the shooting and shouting, there was silence.
The van was almost at a stop near the ditch beside the highway
when one last shot rang out. It was from Hogan's Glock. The
bullet passed through the rear driver's-side window and the back
of the driver's seat, taking some fibers of the seat cushion with
it as it tore into Danny's lower back while he lay on his side
along the two front seats. The bullet missed his spine by an
Basketball had been a hobby for Rayshawn Brown. Of the four
players in the van he had the least basketball education but the
most classroom dedication. "If you get injured, what do you have
left?" Rayshawn says. "Your mind. You have to have your education
to fall back on."
His parents separated when he was one, and his mother raised her
three children in the Bronx. Basketball was not Rayshawn's first
love. Doing flips was. And juggling. And tumbling. He was a
natural gymnast, and the circus fascinated him.
He worked hard in school and was interested in architecture and
computers. He also began tumbling for the Big Apple Circus, a
nonprofit performing group, when he was 13. "Rayshawn was
probably the most responsible kid I had," says Frank Sellitto,
the head instructor at Big Apple Circus. "He had lots of energy."
He earned A's and B's at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School
for International Careers. The school had everything Rayshawn
wanted except basketball. He had led his junior high basketball
team to the eighth-grade city championship. After studying and
training with the circus, he practiced on courts near his
apartment until midnight. He played his way into tournaments. The
circus drills helped him jump higher, cut quicker and muscle
others out of the way. Though only 5'10", he dunked with ease.
He graduated in 1996 and left for Grambling State in Louisiana.
But he was never comfortable there. He made high honors studying
architecture and played intramural basketball for one semester,
then transferred to Alabama A&M. Again unhappy, he lasted only a
semester, making dean's list before returning home in the spring
of 1997, frustrated but undaunted.
Rayshawn worked part time at a dry cleaners and played basketball
day and night. On a fenced-in court near his apartment building
in the fall of 1997, he found himself facing a rare challenge.
Covering him was an equally quick and cocky guard who had a mouth
that wouldn't stop.
"We were talking smack all game," Keshon Moore recalls with a
"Yeah, I was talking trash," Rayshawn remembers. "He couldn't
A friendship was born. The next spring Rayshawn was trying to
figure out how to afford the tuition at Clemson, where he had
just been accepted but had not been offered a scholarship, when
Keshon suggested he try for a full ride at North Carolina
The barrage was over. The entire incident had taken barely 60
seconds. The van rested in a thicket of trees. Rayshawn grabbed
the door handle again and jumped out onto the wet grass. He heard
shouts ordering him to freeze, and he buried his face in the
The troopers dragged the three other young men from the Caravan,
lay them facedown in the mud along with Rayshawn and handcuffed
them. The officers then searched the van for guns, drugs,
alcohol, something that might explain why the young men seemed to
have tried to run the troopers down on the side of the road. They
Danny, one sneaker on, the other still in the car, was moaning in
the mud, barely conscious and bleeding profusely from his wounds.
Paramedics, who arrived about 15 minutes later, had to cut off
his clothes and work around his handcuffs to treat him. Jarmaine
and Rayshawn were also in agony from their gunshot wounds.
Keshon was suffering in a different way, wracked by guilt. He was
apologizing. He saw his friends crying and screaming, and he told
the troopers he simply couldn't get the van into park.
Eleven shots had been fired, six by Kenna and five by Hogan. Nine
of the bullets had struck flesh. Danny was hit four or five
times; it was hard to tell because he had both exit and entrance
wounds. One bullet wound up in his abdomen. Jarmaine was shot
three or four times, Rayshawn once or twice (his chest and wrist
injuries might have come from the same bullet). Keshon, the
smallest and quickest of the players, somehow avoided the spray
Henry Lee, the renowned forensic scientist who testified for the
defense in the O.J. Simpson trial, would re-create the turnpike
shooting several months later as part of a $1 million state
investigation, right down to buying an identical Caravan and
wetting the pavement. Afterward he would say, "It's a miracle
that nobody was killed."
The state police would say that the radar in Hogan and Kenna's
car had clocked the minivan going 74 mph. The problem was, the
officers' cruiser, a shiny Ford Crown Victoria with 500 miles on
it, had no radar. When that became public, the police said the
troopers had determined the van's speed by following it.
Once both cars were stopped at mile marker 62.8 on the turnpike,
Hogan and Kenna made several critical mistakes. They didn't radio
their dispatcher that they were pulling over a vehicle, as they
were required to do. They pulled in straight behind the van, not
at an angle, as police are taught to do, so the front of the
cruiser sticks out to protect them from oncoming traffic. And
they left their car in neutral, not park, meaning a slight tap
could start it rolling.
The young, white troopers were scared and confused. It was late
and dark. Cars and trucks were speeding by on the wet highway.
The van was drifting backward when it should have been still.
What's more, several young black men inside seemed to be shifting
around a lot. The troopers were not about to wait to see if
anyone inside the van had a gun. Kenna would say that he heard
Hogan shout, and he thought Hogan's life was in danger. Kenna
The troopers would later claim that the van was rolling rapidly,
but this was disputed by state investigators, whose forensic
tests determined that the van could not have been going more than
4 mph. That corroborated testimony by the couple in the Honda
Civic that crashed into the van. Eric Jusino and his girlfriend,
Heather Hendrickson, stepped from their smoking car and walked
toward the troopers as the Caravan rolled away. The couple saw
the troopers with guns drawn and rushed back toward their car,
which by then was engulfed in flames. Jusino's lawyer, Jeff
Sponder, says Jusino and Hendrickson didn't witness the
shootings, "but they said the van was moving very slowly."
Hogan would tell state investigators that he had dived headfirst
to avoid the backward-moving van and had been lying on the ground
when he fired his gun. Lee, however, determined after studying
bullet trajectories that Hogan had most likely gotten off all
five of his shots from a "standing or semi-crouched position."
The troopers also would deny that they had stopped the van after
racially profiling Keshon and his friends, but this too was
called into question by an incident earlier in the evening. Half
an hour before they stopped the Caravan, Hogan and Kenna stopped
a Temple University law student, Christopher Woodley, for
allegedly making an unsafe lane change. Woodley did not have his
license, and his vehicle, which had been reported stolen, turned
out to belong to his mother. The troopers sent Woodley on his
way. Their report on the incident, however, caught the attention
of state investigators. The report allegedly listed Woodley as
white. He is black. Why would the troopers have lied? The only
explanation, officials surmised, was that the troopers had been
stopping blacks for no evident reason, looking for drug busts and
reporting the drivers as white or as members of other ethnic
groups to divert suspicion.
Based partly on testimony from the players in the van, a grand
jury indicted Hogan and Kenna on charges of attempted murder,
aggravated assault and filing false police reports. The trial on
the first two charges is expected to begin this fall, to be
followed by trial on the false-reports charges. The troopers, who
have been suspended without pay, have pleaded not guilty to all
The attempted-murder charge, which is highly unusual in cases of
this kind, stems from the final shot, fired into Danny's back
while the van rolled away. "The issue is, What is the purpose of
those shots?" says James J. Gerrow Jr., the assistant prosecutor
in Burlington County, N.J., who was appointed by Gov. Christine
Whitman to lead the investigation into the shooting. "Our
position is that their purpose was to take the life of Danny
The troopers' attorneys angrily dispute that and charge that the
state is using Kenna and Hogan as scapegoats for racial
profiling. "Essentially they're saying those troopers woke up
that morning with the intention of killing some people," says
Kenna's lawyer, Jack Arseneault. "That decision to shoot is made
The turnpike incident touched off a political firestorm over
racial profiling that would have repercussions well beyond New
Jersey. If, as the troopers' allegedly falsified report on
Woodley suggests, Hogan and Kenna were profiling black motorists,
surely other Jersey troopers were, too. Their boss, State Police
Superintendent Carl Williams, seemed to confirm this in comments
published by the Newark Star-Ledger on Feb. 28, 1999. "Today with
this drug problem," Williams said, "it is most likely a minority
group that's involved." Whitman fired Williams later that day.
The turnpike victims hired some of the most prominent lawyers in
the country--including Johnnie Cochran, who 20 years earlier had
himself been stopped and rousted by police while he was a rising
assistant district attorney in Los Angeles--and filed civil
lawsuits against Hogan and Kenna, the state of New Jersey and the
Turnpike Authority. (The troopers have pleaded not guilty in the
civil suit as well.) "This is the poster-boy case for racial
profiling," says Peter Neufeld, who represents Danny and Jarmaine
and is, like Cochran and Lee, a veteran of the Simpson defense.
"Four young men with no criminal records, some parents in law
enforcement, on their way to try out for a basketball team, no
drugs or guns in their car, only a Bible and a John Steinbeck
novel. [The police are] looking for drugs and guns. [They] get a
Bible and Steinbeck."
Whitman ordered an investigation into racial profiling in New
Jersey, and sure enough, statistics revealed that nearly three in
every four motorists stopped on the turnpike were members of
minorities. The yearlong probe ended with a report that said
racial profiling is "real, not imagined." As far as anyone knew,
it was the first time that a state government had acknowledged
that profiling occurs. "It was definitely a turning point on the
issue," says John Crew, coordinator of the NAACP's national
campaign against racial profiling. "These are people who had
denied it for a long time."
Five states have since passed laws outlawing racial profiling.
Partly as a result of the turnpike shooting and its aftermath,
video cameras have been installed in New Jersey State Police
cruisers to record all traffic stops. (Last month the New Jersey
attorney general's office also announced new police guidelines on
deadly force, allowing officers to fire on moving vehicles only
if the officers are in "imminent danger" and/or fear "serious
bodily injury.") The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill
this year to require the government to monitor race data on
police searches across the country. Racial profiling even became
a presidential campaign issue, heatedly discussed by Al Gore and
Bill Bradley in their Apollo Theater debate in Harlem last
Tell the four young men who were in the van that they are lucky
to be alive, and they shrug. They know it's true, but it's hard
to feel lucky when, in your mid-20s, a simple free throw hurts
your wrist, walking for too long makes your knee ache, or steel
plates in your arm remind you that you'll never play ball again.
All they want, they say, is to play--if not in college, if not
professionally, then at least at 129th Street or in Central Park
or at 63rd Street, wherever there's a rim and a game.
It's two years after the shooting, a sticky hot Sunday in April.
Jarmaine Grant, in baggy gray sweats, stands beside the court in
Harlem where he honed his jumper. He walks with a limp. He will
need to have his kneecap replaced. The bullet lodged in his right
arm makes him grimace even when he shoots free throws.
Two friends of Jarmaine's walk down the sidewalk toward him,
their hightops slung over their shoulders. Jarmaine gives them
each a chest bump. They know his game, the way he used to streak
down the court and rain jumpers from everywhere. He watches the
friends disappear around the corner for a pickup game and shakes
his head. Without basketball, he's lost.
"I miss breathing hard," he says later, sitting on a bench
outside the Col. Charles Young Playground on West 145th Street.
Teenagers throw trick passes on the court, but Jarmaine keeps his
back to them. It's easier not to watch. "You can lose every game,
but just knowing you're out there playing,..." he says.
"Basketball kept me on the right path."
No one came closer to dying that night on the turnpike than Danny
Reyes. Physical therapy has helped him, and he has a job as an
editorial assistant at Essence magazine, but his sister, Ana
Thoericht, says he'll never be the same. "He knows he can't play
professional basketball," she says, "and that hurts him deep
Danny's right arm was shattered by bullets, but it was saved from
amputation by metal plates and a skin graft from his right thigh,
which has left the arm grotesquely discolored and scarred. It
took Danny months to regain enough strength to hold a paper cup.
As if the physical pain weren't enough, his insurance company
added insult by refusing to pay his medical bills on grounds that
he had been injured "while committing a felony, or seeking to
avoid lawful apprehension or arrest." The payments finally began
after Danny's lawyers threatened to sue the company.
On a court in Central Park the game is rough; passes clang off
the fences, and there are more air balls than swishes. Teammates
yell at each other for dribbling too much and giving up offensive
rebounds. A shot goes up from the foul line, and the shortest
player on the court rises above all the bodies to try to stuff
the rebound. Rayshawn Brown, with his right wrist--the one that
suffered severe nerve damage from a gunshot--bandaged to prevent
it from bending too far, leaps high, extends his left hand and
slams the ball against the back rim, missing the dunk but drawing
oohs from the spectators.
He's had to learn how to shoot and write with his left hand while
rehabilitating his right. He can't spread the fingers on his
right hand wide or bend the wrist to follow through on his jump
shots. Twice a week he goes for physical therapy.
For months after the shooting Rayshawn would venture outside only
with his mother. Seeing a cop stung. "He's not as carefree as he
used to be," his mother says. "He's not as trusting of anybody."
But he is playing again, on scholarship at Bloomfield (N.J.)
College, a Division II school about 30 minutes west of Manhattan.
For Rayshawn, the dream is still alive.
"My goal is the CBA or USBL," he says, sitting on a bench near
his dormitory on another steamy afternoon. He's studying Internet
technologies. "You can't let obstacles stand in your way," he
says, "or you'll never fulfill your dream."
Keshon Moore could play basketball if he wanted to. He wasn't
wounded in the shooting, but his passion for the game is gone. He
lives in West New York, N.J., with his fiancee, Mimi Pimentel,
who gave birth to a girl named Mykaela last month. Until recently
Keshon worked in a liquor store in Irvington, N.J. He's helping
Mimi at home now and looking for a new job, struggling to find
direction. He talks about coaching but has no plans for it. He
talks about getting his degree but hasn't enrolled anywhere.
"It's important to me," he says about finishing his education. "I
almost died trying to get it."
"He's so terribly guilt-ridden that he wasn't shot," says
Keshon's attorney, Linda Kenney. "He feels that since the police
officers were trying to kill him, he should have taken all the
bullets for everybody."
He feels responsible for starting the trip and for ending it. "I
brought them together," Keshon says. "I was the driver. It was
rented for me. I was controlling the vehicle. I told the police
it was a mistake. They said, 'You tried to run us over.'"
As for the troopers, they await trial on the criminal charges, to
be followed by trial of the civil suits. Kenna, who is married
with a two-year-old son at home, is the son of a state police
captain. Raised in an Irish-Catholic family, he studied graphic
design in college and had no intention of following in his
father's footsteps. But for the sake of job stability, he did.
His lawyer says that regardless of the outcome of the trials,
Kenna is through with police work.
Not Hogan. The son of a warehouse worker and homemaker who raised
five children, he played football and basketball in high school
and graduated with the single purpose of becoming a New Jersey
state trooper. He succeeded in 1993, the year before Kenna. Hogan
will not discuss the shooting, but asked if he's sorry for what
happened, he swallows and seems to fight back tears. "This is
about my reputation, my life," he says. "It's not about being a
trooper anymore." Then he pauses and admits he can't imagine life
without his badge. "Law enforcement is the one direction I knew I
wanted to go."
His victims wanted only to go further as basketball players, and
with the exception of Rayshawn, they struggle with the loss of
this purpose. Gannon, who coached Danny Reyes at Curtis High,
keeps a deflated ball on his desk to remind his players of life
after basketball. "We try to tell them to not let [playing hoops]
be the high point of their lives," he says. Too often, he
acknowledges, it is.
Reflecting on the shooting, Jarmaine Grant says, "I try to live
my life as if it never happened, but then I see my friends
playing ball, and I know I can't play, and it hits me. We went on
this trip with high hopes and high dreams. You go to sleep in
paradise and wake up in hell."
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY LYNN JOHNSON/AURORA SIDELINED Rayshawn (seated, center) still plays, but (from left) Keshon, Jarmaine and Danny can barely stand to watch the game that once consumed them.
TWO COLOR PHOTOS: ROBERT MAASS (2) FIRESTORM Troopers Hogan (right) and Kenna (with wife Kristen and son Jimmy) riddled the Caravan with 11 gunshots.
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY LYNN JOHNSON/AURORA [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY LYNN JOHNSON/AURORA OUT OF THE GAME With a kneecap that will eventually have to be replaced, Jarmaine has no prayer of playing basketball again.
TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY LYNN JOHNSON/AURORA LONG ROAD BACK Rayshawn (below), who has learned to play ball with his left hand, still rehabs his right wrist, while Jarmaine (opposite) works to regain full use of his right arm, where a bullet remains lodged.
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY LYNN JOHNSON/AURORA STILL DREAMING Rayshawn (center, with two friends) hopes to go from college ball to the CBA or USBL.
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY LYNN JOHNSON/AURORA A NEW FOCUS While he searches for direction in his life, Keshon has a baby daughter, Mykaela, to take care of.
KESHON WAS SURE HE HADN'T BEEN SPEEDING. HE WASN'T THINKING THAT
HIS RACE ALONE MIGHT BE REASON ENOUGH FOR THE POLICE TO STOP HIM
ONE BULLET STRUCK JARMAINE'S RIGHT KNEE, ANOTHER HIT HIS RIBS,
AND A THIRD ENTERED HIS RIGHT ARM. "I'M HIT, I'M HIT!" HE
HENRY LEE, THE FORENSIC SCIENTIST WHO WOULD RE-CREATE THE
SHOOTING FOR A STATE INVESTIGATION, SAID, "IT'S A MIRACLE NOBODY
ALL THEY WANT, THE YOUNG MEN SAY, IS TO PLAY BASKETBALL--IF NOT IN
COLLEGE, IF NOT IN THE PROS, THEN WHEREVER THERE'S A RIM AND A
"HE'S SO GUILT-RIDDEN," KESHON'S LAWYER SAYS. "HE FEELS HE SHOULD
HAVE TAKEN ALL THE BULLETS"