Family and neighbors remember life of slain Eastchester teen

Graboski Wine Bottle Kino

During a candlelight vigil on Oct. 1, Nico Browne, 19, poured a bottle of wine in the basketball court where his brother played basketball. Kino Browne, 17, died after an early morning stabbing just one day before in Eastchester, according to police. (STEVEN GRABOSKI/The Bronx Ink)

When newspapers report on homicides, some readers merely see a name and the cause of death. They move on to the next story, continue with their lives and forget the death in minutes.

The family of a recent homicide victim could not do the same.

Cops said that at 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, they responded to a 911 call reporting a stabbing near Bivona Street. Outside the Boston Secor public housing complex, they found Kino Browne, 17, with one wound to his torso. Browne was declared dead on arrival at Montefiore Hospital, police said.

During the ongoing investigation of the homicide, police said they arrested Wakefield resident Pedro Suazo, 22. They charged him with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Despite efforts, Suazo’s family and lawyer could not be reached for comment.

It was in many ways a routine arrest — except to the people who knew and loved Kino Browne. “People need to know that this was not gang related,” said Eric Simmons Jr. of Mount Veron, Browne’s 31-year-old uncle. “He stayed to books, stayed to family, and anyone who knew him would tell you the same thing.”

Neighbors said that his death resulted from a feud outside of a party in Browne’s building. The victim and his alleged assailant fought each other until Browne’s attacker grabbed a knife and struck a fatal blow, they said.

Afterwards, people who knew Browne  created a memorial outside of his building’s entrance. They placed candles, nearly empty bottles and stuffed animals by photos of the teenager taped to a glass window and a marble wall. The paper some participants set up for messages to Browne filled up quickly. By the afternoon of Oct. 1, the day after the crime, mourners wrote “R.I.P” with markers not just on the leaflets but across the walls of the lobby, the glass windows of the entrance and their steel frames.

Laticia Browne, the victim’s mother, stood with family members by the memorial on the Saturday afternoon after the stabbing. She said that her son made the varsity football team at Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx this year and played for their junior varsity basketball and swim teams in the past. She added that he had an artistic side—he enjoyed drawing, and planned to go to Fordham University to study architecture and fashion design.

Some mourners remembered Kino Browne as a jokester who regularly poked fun at people’s appearances. “If he saw me, he would call me, ‘hey big head, where are you going?’” said Tamara Bell, a 19-year-old neighbor.

“If your outfit wasn’t looking too good, he’d flame you,” said Boston Secor resident Michael Sanchez, 18. According to Sanchez, he and Browne met in middle school and used to shoot hoops in the basketball court behind their building. “He was like the best left-handed basketball player in the Bronx,” he said.

Minutes after 7 p.m. on Saturday, more than a hundred mourners gathered outside of the entrance to Browne’s building. Some passed candles to each other to begin a vigil. Soon after, with his mother leading the group, they silently walked around the courtyard with their lit candles. They traveled to the sidewalk and then finally to the basketball court behind the building. The family stayed in the center to give messages of thanks and to caution young people against violence.

Simmons Jr. led the surrounding crowd in a prayer. “In Jesus name may we all pray that we get to see something beyond,” he said to the crowd. “Because this man was denied the greatest facets of life. Amen.” Those gathered replied with an amen and sobs.

Nico Browne, the 19-year-old brother of the victim, took a bottle of wine and poured it in the center of the court. He and Simmons Jr. struggled to place a lit candle inside the emptied container. It fell in and extinguished soon after. The family and the mourners left, leaving the bottle in the court where Kino Browne once played.

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