Teen's killer still in the wind

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 5/23/2013, 2:53 p.m.

Somewhere, possibly still in Harlem, a gun man, possibly a young man, is walking around, nervous with the knowledge that it is he who took the life of 13-year-old Chris Owens.

"As a parent, I am asking the streets and city of New York to help me catch a child killer," said Chris Foye, whose son Chris Owens was the victim of errant gun violence. The grieving father blasted his son's killer, saying, "He's a coward. Only a coward shoots into a crowd and runs off. He's not a man. He's a child killer, and we are here today to catch a child killer. He wasn't a gangster, he wasn't tough ... he shot into a crowd and killed a 13-year-old. I want the streets to turn him over. I'm talking to Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, gang members, whoever--tell 'em. He's a child killer, and he's a coward. We should never tolerate the murder of children. We are going to change the culture of disregard for women and children."

A vigil was held on Friday night, April 26, on the corner of 121st Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard to mark the fourth anniversary of the murder of yet another inner-city young person.

It was close to where young "Booba"--as Chris was known to friends and loved ones--was hit in the head by a stray bullet at a Harlem barbecue. The popular teen had been hanging out at the cookout that warm spring evening. He was chilling with his friends, had just called his mother, Gail Owens, and asked if he could stay out a little later. She told him no, but Owens dawdled some more. Then when a trigger-happy individual got to letting off shots into a crowd, tragically, the poor Academy for Collaborative Education student caught a bullet.

"I'm hurting," Gail Owens told the AmNews. "He was a good boy. He was in a gifted class. He was on the honor roll. Gradating from junior high to high school. It was a horrible feeling seeing all the graduates and my son's cap and gown there. I have three college graduates. I thought he was going to be the fourth, but they took his life.

"I would rally for [the killer] to turn himself in. I know he can't sleep."

Chris Owens' funeral at Harlem's Convent Baptist Church was heart-wrenching; family members, school friends and teachers shook with grief as tears fell. The devastation was palatable.

The same week, rapper T.I. attended the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network's anti-violence rally and stated, "You don't just kill a man, you destroy a family!"

"This is the worst day of my life, April 26. I lost my son and I have no other option than to bring justice to my family," said Foye. "From here to May 3, we honor his legacy."

On May 3, 2009 doctors turned off the life support machine on the brain dead teen.

At the vigil, a local resident, Malik, asked, "Where are the men in the community? We need to know who we are [as a people] so whether there are guns here or not, there isn't an appetite for it. "