Six months after leading his youth league football team to a city championship, a 14-year-old boy is dead after a gun another teen was playing with in a parked car Tuesday went off, piercing the boy in the side, family members said.
Baton Rouge police were called to a lot next to 1312 N. 48th St. about 1:30 p.m. and found the victim, identified by family members as Brandon Bindon, a Capitol Middle School student, unresponsive.
Bindon, described by neighbors and family members as a well-mannered teen who respected and listened to others, was later pronounced dead at Baton Rouge General Medical Center Mid-City.
Late Tuesday, police arrested a 16-year-old boy, whom they did not identify, and booked him into the East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Detention Center on a count of negligent homicide.
The 16-year-old was playing with a revolver in the back seat when it went off, hitting Bindon, who was sitting in the front passenger’s seat, said Cpl. Don Coppola, a police spokesman.
There were at least two other people inside the car when the gun went off, Coppola said, adding he was unsure where the 16-year-old got the gun.
On Tuesday afternoon, Bindon’s mother sat quietly in the back seat of a red Dodge car, appearing to be in shock as police spoke to other family members inside the North 48th Street home about what they suspected happened to her son.
Several neighbors said they did not hear any gunshots, something they attributed to the thunder from a large storm that swept through Baton Rouge.
Meanwhile, dozens of family, friends and neighbors gathered outside the home, consoling one another.
Several people openly cried, including members of his youth team, the No Limit Steelers, and held onto each other for support.
Tony Odds, Bindon’s second cousin and youth football coach, and others offered consoling words, but it did little to stop the tears.
“A lot of the girls, they are strong,” Odds said, tears running down his face. “It’s us men that can’t handle it when someone passes.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Odds had spoken to only a few players. He planned to call the others and break the news to them if they had not heard already.
Odds, 55, of Baton Rouge, said Bindon was a joy to coach as a starting linebacker and backup quarterback. Bindon stood about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed about 115 pounds, but Odds said he was extremely tough and did not give an inch on the field.
Odds, who recently took a coaching job at Baker High School, said he had been trying to convince Bindon and some of the other players to play for him at Baker.
“He was a helluva football player. He learned fast,” Odds said while toying with a championship ring on his left ring finger that was like the ones he bought for the team after they claimed the city title. That team had been together for about five years, and Odds said they treated each other like family.
He smiled as he remembered Bindon cracking jokes with his teammates and raiding the fridge at Odds’ house the night before games. Odds had the players sleep over so he did not spend gameday morning driving all over to pick them up.
Keon Preston, a teen chaplain with the nonprofit group Stop The Violence, drove to the North 48th Street house Tuesday to grieve with the family.
Bindon was a gifted dancer and “was a sweet person,” Preston said. “I never had any problems with him or the family, period.”
Preston also impressed upon teens gathered outside the house that Bindon’s death was senseless. His message was that teens need to put down their guns, get off Facebook, pick up a Bible and put their head in a schoolbook.
“We’re praying for the family that God will give them strength to endure this tragic time,” he said.