Paulette Page haunted by mystery of who killed her son

Jahmal Page was killed in Fort Greene Park. His killer is still at large. Credit: Facebook
Jahmal Page was killed in Fort Greene Park. His killer is still at large. Credit: Facebook

In April, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out at the media for, as he saw it, ignoring the shooting death of a 17-year-old black teen in the Bronx named Alphonza Bryant.

“There was not even a mention of his murder in our paper of record, the New York Times,” Bloomberg fumed during a public safety address to NYPD top brass on April 30. “All the news that’s fit to print did not include the murder of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant.”

“Do you think if a white 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan had been murdered, the Times would have ignored it?” he continued. “Me neither.”

This has been a frequent refrain from Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in defense of the heavy police presence and use of stop-and-frisk in predominantly low-income, minority communities: The vast majority of victims of gun crime are young men of color.

The next day, the Times published a long piece on Bryant, framing it in the context of the gun death of his father.

Early last month, two more young black men were killed by gun violence. The location of their death — Fort Greene Park — drew some attention because over the past several years, that neighborhood has grown increasingly expensive and seemingly safer.

According to police reports, about 11:26 p.m. on Aug. 9, officers inside Fort Green Park heard gunshots and saw a black male who appeared to be in his late teens wearing red shorts and a white baseball cap running in their direction. The officers said the teen was waving a gun and fired multiple shots in the air. They chased him but he got away.

Two victims were found near the basketball court by Myrtle Avenue and St. Edwards Street. Jahmal Page and Javon Anthony Earl-Govon, both 21, were lying face-down on the ground and had been shot once in the head.

Investigators believe that the young men may have been part of a group of friends that had some sort of physical altercation with the shooter prior to this incident. They also believe the gunman they chased was not the perpetrator, but a friend of the victims who was firing into the crowd randomly while fleeing.

Page’s mother, Paulette Page, described her son as “a fun-loving person” who played football, rapped, “was into fashion” and “liked music, entertaining people [and] partying.” He and Earl-Govon were there with a group of about five other friends for a cookout.

She said they had known each other for a while because they had gone to school together but just started hanging out two months prior to the shooting.

Jahmal was her only child. She said she has no idea why he would have been a target.

“I don’t know what to say,” she said. “He didn’t have any enemies out here.”

Paulette said her son was not involved with any gangs and was “actually working with a trading school” as part of a program called Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow. The organization describes its mission as helping “disadvantaged youth and adults recognize their own self-worth and advance towards self-sufficiency and financial security.” Paulette said a week before the shooting, Jahmal had decided to go live in North Carolina in the fall with her brother, who was going to help him apply to schools. 

The night of the shooting, her sister found out about Jahmal first and told her. Paulette went to several hospitals in Brooklyn but couldn’t find her son. Finally, someone told her to go to Fort Greene Park. She discovered police had kept the scene intact — and the boys’ bodies where they’d fallen — because it was an active investigation. 

After the shooting there was a candlelight vigil on Washington and St. Johns, where Paulette’s mother lives.

“That’s where he grew up,” Paulette explains. “That’s where all his friends and everything are.”

Paulette has had no updates from the police regarding the investigation into her son’s death. She said she doesn’t understand how there were so many people at the barbeque but apparently no leads on the identity of the shooter.

“There were so many people around and nobody saying anything,” she said. “I mean, I’m pretty sue that somebody saw something, but they’re not really saying who, what or whatever… I don’t know [why], maybe because they may be scared of the person or persons. I don’t know.”

Paulette has been told by some people in the community that two young men were responsible for the shooting, and has been given their street names, but chose not to share them in case they’re innocent. She’s not afraid, she said. She just has no desire for more young men to suffer needlessly.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…