Back in high school, Dowayne Henry thought his future would include using basketball to help educate and mold children top reach their potential.
Henry, 20, was a teaching assistant at St. Martin de Porres Academy in Elmont, LI when he was shot to death early Monday morning in front of his Laurelton home.
And the school’s executive director on Thursday said Henry’s death has had a profound impact on the school. “I saw him every day. He had only been working here since winter as a teaching assistant in the physical education department at our elementary/junior high school. He was a wonderful young man.”
Dana said teachers and officials had gatherings with on Tuesday when they returned from the Memorial Day weekend, and that counseling was available for them. He offered the school community’s condolences to Henry’s family.
“The family has suffered such a great loss,” Dana said. “He was a young man who had such promise in education in terms of the impact he could have had going forward. We’re just very saddened to have lost such a vibrant young man, and we don’t even know why.”
Henry was killed and another man wounded just after 2:30 a.m. on Monday. They were in front of Henry’s home, where a barbecue had taken place.
Police say a man in a gray hoodie walked up to the men and opened fire, killing Henry and wounding the second man.
Henry, who had a second job at an athletic shoe and sports apparel store, had planned to transfer from Monroe College in the Bronx to York College in Jamaica.
He was pronounced dead at the scene, while the second victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
When the former high school basketball standout was applying to be recruited into college, Henry wrote in his application that he wanted to work with youth in the community, particularly through his beloved sport, as a way of paying back the help he had always received from older teens as he was growing up.
Dana believed education was Henry’s calling.
“The Martin de Porres community is saddened,” he said. “We’ve lost such a promising young man, lived by the kids, loved by the teachers. He was unique. How many other young men in so short a time could have made such an impact on people? He was a natural at it.”
The NYPD is asking that anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of Henry’s killer call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public also can submit tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting 274637 (CRIMES), then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.