He was a 'good kid' – Friends and family of 14-year-old stabbed Monday night mourn the loss
By Shavonne Potts, Scott Jenkins and Holly Lee
Salisbury Police say they have found the knife they believe a 15-year-old Salisbury youth used to stab a 14-year-old Salisbury High School student.
The student, Brooklyn A.P. Jones, died on the way to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte Monday night.
Police Chief Mark Wilhelm said they found a pocketknife along Bringle Ferry Road.
The 15-year-old remains in a juvenile facility in Alexander County.
This is the second murder of the new year in Rowan County.
Jones’ family and fellow students mourned his death Tuesday.
Wilhelm said Jones’ bike had been stolen, and the two teens argued about the bike before the stabbing.
Jones’ family said he loved bikes, owned a number himself and repaired many for neighbors and friends.
Grieving family members gathered at the home on North Church Street on Tuesday described Brooklyn Jones as a bright, friendly 14-year-old.
“He was easygoing, a very loving person,” his aunt, Mary Blackwell said. “He really didn’t bother nobody.”
Brooklyn liked school, where the freshman made As and Bs, his stepfather, Richard Jackson said. And he had just started his first year on the track team.
The teen liked to work, Jackson said, and had washed windows and raked leaves at the Country Club of Salisbury in order to buy his mother a Christmas present.
“Good kid,” Jackson said, standing on the front porch with several relatives. “He was not involved with drugs, gangs, anything like that. He was your average 14-year-old.”
Brooklyn had an above-average fondness and aptitude for bicycles, his family said. He loved riding and working on bikes and owned more than a dozen in various states of repair, Jackson said.
When neighbors needed bicycles repaired, they brought them to Brooklyn, Jackson said. If he found one broken and abandoned, he’d bring it home and fix it up.
And he didn’t do it just to collect them.
“Anybody could get a bike,” Jackson said. “If you didn’t have one, he’d give you one.”
Family members said Brooklyn often rode his bike to his girlfriend’s house about two miles away on Newsome Road and had ridden there Monday.
Jackson said Brooklyn’s family, including his mother, Sandra Jackson, and sisters 15-year-old Tyauna Jones and 13-year-old Breyun Jones, are “just trying to hold on. It’s hard.”
Jackson said his stepson hadn’t talked about long-term goals, but he’d been looking forward to buying Brooklyn his first car, seeing him graduate, watching him start life as an adult.
“He was only 14,” Jackson said. “Who’s to say what he was going to be?”
The porch of the suspect’s home, a white clapboard house, located at 918 Newsome Road, still showed traces of blood stains on the steps. A family member declined comment after a Post reporter and photographer went to the house.
The neighborhood seemed quiet Tuesday afternoon as if tragedy had not struck nearly 24 hours earlier. A child’s bicycle sat in the front yard and lawn figures stood on a tuft of grass along the property’s edge.
One neighbor, Josephine Peeler, who lives a few houses down the road, sympathized with the suspect’s family saying she thought them to be a “nice family.”
She said she thinks the family has lived at the home for at least five or more years. Peeler herself has lived in the neighborhood for more than 40 years.
“It’s a quiet neighborhood,” she said, “where nothing like this has happened before.”
The 15-year-old, Peeler said, often cut through her yard on his way to a nearby house. During the summer she saw him walking to the house. A Post reporter and photographer went to the house. No one was home.
With police cars surrounding the building, students walked out of Salisbury High School Tuesday saddened by the loss of their friend.
Salisbury High School freshman Alvin Andrews moved to Salisbury from Washington, D.C., and became friends with Jones at the beginning of the school year.
He met Jones through another friend and the two rode bicycles together almost every day after school.
“We’d go all over,” he said.
The two also played basketball at Lincoln Park.
“I know he was really into sports,” he said.
Andrews said he was upset but feeling OK at the moment. Some of Jones’ other close friends are extremely depressed. Andrews said, “I’m keeping them strong.”
“He was a great person. It wasn’t his time,” he said.
Jasmine Craig, a Salisbury High freshman, said she found out Jones had passed away Tuesday morning while she was getting dressed for school.
“It hurt really bad. I didn’t want to believe it. It didn’t seem real,” she said.
Craig was in an algebra class last semester with Jones and said, “He was just always smiling and laughing.”
Brittany Clodfelter, a Salisbury High junior, said she saw Jones riding his bicycle yesterday at the Wilco Hess gas station on East Innes Street.
When she heard the news Tuesday morning, “I was like, you’re lying,” she said.
Clodfelter said she didn’t feel like Jones’ death had hit her yet. All day the whole school was shaking and crying — boys she had never seen cry before were crying, she said.
Salisbury High sophomore Taneisha Watson went to church with Jones at the World of Faith Church in Salisbury. She said she didn’t believe the news of Jones’ death either when she first heard it.
Clodfelter and Watson said they also knew the 15-year-old suspect and his sister, who is also Jones’ girlfriend. They went on to say she had just enrolled at Salisbury High a few weeks ago.
Freshman Asia Figueroa said, “He was like a big brother to me.”
When she heard the news, “I was tore up,” she said.
“I felt like a part of me was gone then,” Figueroa said.
Martin Hosch, a sophomore at Salisbury High, said he met Jones at a YMCA sports event in elementary school.
“He never started anything. He was cool,” he said.
Hosch added that Jones was well liked and had a lot of friends.
Hosch and Jones remained friends up to high school and they shared Law and Justice Class last semester.
Jasmine Allison, a freshman at Salisbury High said Jones’ death was a “reality check.”
“I couldn’t believe it. He was a good student,” she said.
Junior Karen Harris sat beside Jones in lunch everyday. “He had a lot of friends. I was his friend. I loved him. Make sure he knows that I love him,” she said.
Counselors were on hand at the high school to help students cope with the loss.
Assistant Principal Chris Boylan said there were four additional counselors and a school psychologist available Tuesday.
He said there were quite a few students upset and needing to speak with counselors.
Barbara Sharpe, Child Protective Services Program administrator, said her agency was not called by law enforcement to investigate the death.
She said the agency also did not receive a report about the incident, “So apparently law enforcement did not feel that there was any abuse, neglect or dependency by a parent or caretaker.”
At this point, she said it appears that the death was “not the result of abuse, neglect or dependency by a parent or caretaker.”
Staff writers Kathy Chaffin and Shelley Smith contributed to this story.