Minister: Abraham Jenkins, family moved from Detroit to escape violence

Abraham Jenkins
Abraham Jenkins

The family of a 19-year-old man shot and killed Monday afternoon moved here from Detroit to escape the violence of a big city, his minister said Tuesday.

“They came down here because they would be away from that danger, but trouble is everywhere,” said the Rev. Clarence Marlin, pastor of Fairview Heights Baptist Church in Salisbury.


Abraham Iman Jenkins died at the corner of West Horah and Institute streets after being shot a block from the boarding house where he lived.

Andre Rynell Bognuda, 22, has been charged with murder. Salisbury Police are looking for a second suspect, who was described as a dark-skinned African-American man with short dreadlocks in his late teens or early 20s.

Marlin said Jenkins was baptized at Fairview Heights Baptist about three-and-a-half years ago and served on its usher board. He called Jenkins “mild natured” and a “somewhat quiet” person, not the kind who would start trouble with anyone.

Jenkins’ father, Roosevelt Jenkins, is an associate minister at the church.

Roosevelt Jenkins spoke very briefly with the Post Tuesday, confirming the family moved here from Detroit to get away from violence.

He said the family is planning to establish a foundation in Abraham’s name, and an event is in the works to spotlight violence.

Neighbors and friends told the Post Tuesday that they are saddened following the death of Abraham Jenkins.

“I’m grief-stricken,” said neighbor Patricia Wilson.

Wilson lives two houses from the boarding house where Jenkins lived and said she often saw him heading to work and to church on Sundays.

“He was a nice fellow. Very respectful. To me he was a sweetie pie,” Wilson said.

Jenkins would often speak as he passed Wilson’s home on his way to the store a few blocks away.

One resident of the boarding house, who did not want to be named, said he often watched sports with Jenkins and his cousin.

He’d just seen Jenkins 20 minutes before he was killed.

“It’s sad to see young men losing their lives. His life was snuffed out for no reason,” the neighbor said. “He was a good young man. He was a rarity.”

The neighbor said he believed because witnesses spoke up and because of “good police work” authorities were able to make a quick arrest.

“The community should remember it is up to us,” he said.

He’s lived along West Horah Street for 20 years and says many people look out for each other.

The neighbor said he and Jenkins often talked about work because it was something they had in common.

Jenkins worked in landscaping for Summit Developers in Salisbury. He’d been employed with the company since February 2012, said fellow employee Ketti Overcash.

Overcash said Summit employees were sad to hear of Jenkins’ death.

She called Jenkins a “very kind, polite and intelligent young man.”

Police said Bognuda was arrested during a traffic stop nearly an hour after the shooting. An officer stopped a vehicle at 3:50 p.m. on Knox Street. Bognuda was a passenger.

The car’s driver, Romielo Cowan, was charged with drug possession. Investigators obtained information that led them to charged Bognuda, who was also charged with resisting arrest. He was jailed without bond.

Jenkins was the fourth homicide victim in Salisbury this year.

In December 2007, a 16-year-old Bognuda ordered five pit bulls to attack a Salisbury Police K-9 officer and charged with assault. The officer received minor cuts in the incident. Bognuda was convicted in September 2009 on those assault charges. In October 2007, Bognuda was charged after authorities said he began waving a handgun in the Salisbury Mall.

In October 2008, Bognuda’s brother, Ahmad, was shot and killed in East Spencer following an incident on Geroid Street.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: www.twitter.com/salpostpotts Facebook: www.facebook.com/Shavonne.SalisburyPost. Post intern Sydney Sides contributed to this story.

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