The community is asking for individuals to come forward with information on the shooting that left a mother and a former Mister African American Junior King dead, and several others injured at a private club in Homewood on Oct. 20.
Jasmine Morris, 21, of Penn Hills, and Demetrius Broadnax, 27, of Monroeville, were both found shot to death in the lower level of the Diverse Banquet Club in the 7100 block of Kelly Street.
The two were attending a social party hosted by the New Brotherhood Motorcycle Club, which uses the facility’s lower level as their headquarters after its former dwelling burned down last year. Broadnax was a member of a local motorcycle club called the Ruff Ryders.
“When I first found out I was speechless. It hurts especially when you have grown close to a person,” Laneel Phifer, an officer of the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club, said of Broadnax’ death. “I’ve never known him to be a violent person. Whoever knows anything please step up. He was not the type of person to be (into any trouble).” Phifer had not attended the party, but said it was nothing for members of one motorcycle club to support another club’s event.
While Phifer said he doesn’t know whether Broadnax was the intended target or not, he cannot imagine that he was. “What could a one-armed person do to another to make him shoot him?” he said. “There’s nothing he could have done.”
Broadnax had been paralyzed on one side of his body after a previous accident where a vehicle hit the motorcycle he was riding.
Like Phifer, Jean Bryant, the founder of the Mister African American male development and anti-violence program, said she knew Broadnax to be a good person and cannot believe he is gone.
“It just really hurts for his life to end this way,” she said. “Although I had lost contact with him, I remember him quite well. He was quiet, reserved, shy, but so well mannered. He had his whole future ahead of him.”
Bryant met Broadnax when he was 11 years old and his mother brought him to her anti-violence program, where he was crowned the 1997 Mister African American Junior King. Bryant said the program, which ran from 1993-2003, began because the Black on Black violence was so intense and it was a small step, but something that she could do in the community to make a difference.
Now, 10 years later, Black on Black violence is still plaguing local communities. “To me it’s very devastating to see this happening no matter where you go,” Bryant said. “And there seems to be no end.”
Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to contact Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Homicide Unit at 412-323-7161.
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