Brooklyn man gunned down same night as vigil for friend who was killed

A Brooklyn man was gunned down in a barrage of bullets the same night a vigil was held for a friend who was himself killed just a night earlier.

Rebecca White

A memorial of candles in front of the Brooklyn home of Kereem Morgan. (Rebecca White)

Family said Kereem Morgan, 23, was on his way home from a Wednesday night ceremony for his buddy Brandon Nichols when a gunman opened fire at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday near the corner of Utica Ave. and Union St. in Crown Heights.

Morgan, who was shot several times in the chest, died a short time later at Kings County Hospital.

“Can’t even believe this s–t,” one friend posted on social media. “I love both y’all.”

The gunman, described as a tall man wearing black, took off on foot toward nearby Lincoln Terrace/Arthur S. Somers Park, police sources said.

Family say that earlier in the evening, Morgan went to pay his respects for Nichols, who was shot and killed Jan. 30 in the basement of a building on President St. near Utica Ave. Cops said Nichols died from a gunshot wound to the torso.

There have been no arrests in either case.

“When he walked out here, he told me that he’s coming back in a short little while,” said Nichola Morgan, the victim’s aunt, who raised him as one of her own after his mother died 17 years ago.

But Morgan didn’t tell her where he was going, and she said she had a strange feeling about him leaving the house.

“I saw him going downstairs,” she said. “I was telling him, ‘Why don’t you just stay inside?’ And he said, ‘Auntie, I’m coming right back.’

“My cousin upstairs told him, too — ‘Why don’t you just stay inside?’ And he’s like, ‘Cousin, I’m coming right back. I’m not staying long.’”

She said that before the victim left, he ran an errand for his grandmother.

“That’s what he did,” Nichola Morgan said. “And then I watched him on the camera and he walked out and that was the last I saw of him.”

Hours later, she said she got the news from a relative.

Police investigate a shooting on Utica Avenue and Union Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York City on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)
Police investigate a shooting on Utica Ave. and Union St. in Crown Heights on Wednesday. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)

“One of my cousins called me and asked me where I’m at,” she said. “I told her I just came from work but I don’t understand why my body’s feeling so nervous.”

After learning of the shooting, she rushed to the hospital, where she got the official news.

The aunt said that before Morgan left home that evening, he never said anything to her about his friend’s death.

“He was more private,” she recalled.

She hosted a vigil on Friday for Morgan, prompting emotional reflections by friends.

“They were both stand up guys,” a friend of both victims posted on Facebook. “They thought they were Superman, always made everyone laugh and smile, always singing and dancing … & they were good friends.”

The deceased friends had similar interests, according to those who knew them.

They said Morgan was into dance while rap was Nichols’ preferred mode of creativity.

“He was a well-respected neighborhood hero,” one friend said of Nichols.

“He was a great person, great personality … the life of the party,” added the friend, who gave his name as Chippy.

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