Blood streamed from two bullet holes in Chris Headley's temple. The 20-year-old's chest was also shot through. The front and back of his white T-shirt were stained scarlet.

"Don't let me die," he gurgled. "Please don't let me die."

He stopped breathing for a moment. Then he rolled over on the sun-bleached pavement outside a boarded-up Miami Gardens crack den.

Christopher Headley (left). Watch a video about him.
Courtesy of the Headley Family
Christopher Headley (left). Watch a video about him.

Kenya Greene had heard the shots and sprinted outside. The 31-year-old beauty grabbed Headley's hand. He looks 16 years old, she thought, a baby. "Breathe, baby. Breathe."

The dreadlocked shooter was nearby. That didn't matter. She screamed and then began praying: "Our Father, who art in Heaven..."

"Our Father," Chris parroted in a whisper as blood poured from his mouth and down his cheek.

Watch a video about Chris Headley.

Fifteen hours later, after a helicopter flight to the trauma center, the young man was dead. That was this past September 9. The TV news didn't broadcast a word about the murder. It was just one of 160 in the county this year. Newspapers were mum too. Cops never even returned to ask Kenya or her slender, blond-wigged 38-year-old roommate, Charlene, any questions.

"After he passed away, no detective came around," says Charlene, stamping her feet and pointing at the still-bloody pavement. "Nobody came knocking on people's doors asking if they knew or saw anything. It just ain't fair."

The seedy place on NW 207th Street where Chris was shot reeks of mayhem. A kid with dreadlocks killed him from a car just outside the "candy house," where neighbors say you can buy hard-boiled eggs in brine, a soda, and more. When I visited recently, a new silver Mercedes with wire rims pulled up in front. A guy dressed in low-slung shorts and a crooked baseball cap walked inside to make a buy. A new Dodge pickup truck was parked there too. Next door is a boarded-up house on a garbage-strewn lot.

Although Miami Gardens is only a few minutes from the suburban Miramar home where Chris lived with his grandma, the city is one of the deadliest places in the Sunshine State. Local cops rarely issue a news release or even mention murders.

Chris shouldn't have been there. A month before, he had snared a job at Home Depot. He had stopped dressing like a thug. His mom, Kristina Mahoney, a tax consultant with two master's degrees, and his uncle, Paul Neil, a well-known club manager, thought the once-troubled kid had turned his life around. But last month, Chris Headley's corpse was buried to a hip-hop soundtrack.

"Chris was a very funny kid," his mother says. "He always had a story to tell. Now there are no more stories."

He was born at Miami's North Shore Medical Center in 1991, and Kristina moved to Miramar just before Hurricane Andrew flattened much of the city. From the beginning, Chris was bright and athletic, but not much of student at Fairway Elementary. He made B's and C's. Kristina calls him "a little lazy."

Chris was a tough kid, who at just 7 years old fell and banged his head on a concrete bumper in a parking lot. When Kristina cried at the sight of blood, he soothed her: "It's OK mom. I'll take care of you; I'll always take care of you."

He was captain of the football team and point guard for the West Pembroke Pines Optimist Club, where he called himself "Little Michael Jordan." Sports were his passion. They would also be his undoing.

Watch a video about Chris Headley.

When Chris was still small, Kristina remarried to a guy named Tourek. "He and his stepdad got along well at first, but later things got rough," she recalls. "He was independent, but his stepfather was very strict."

At age 14, Chris started hanging with a bad crowd. He was busted for battery that year after Miramar cops chased a bunch of brawling kids into a back yard. But prosecutors quickly dropped the charges, and he sunk himself into sports. Though he was short, not much taller than five feet, he played junior varsity basketball when he started at Flanagan High.

The next year he moved to giant Everglades High, which had just opened. He had big plans — to make the varsity team and win the state championship. But when a coach wouldn't start him, he muttered something disrespectful and was suspended. Not much later, he was removed from school for fighting.

"Things went downhill from there," Kristina says. "After that, he just kept getting in trouble."

First he was pulled over with a joint in his pocket. Charges were quickly dropped. His worst crime was showing a pellet gun to a kid who had "looked at him hard," according to a police report. A judge gave him 100 days of community service and anger management classes.

"All typical juvenile stuff," says Broward attorney Reginald Mathis, who represented Chris. "He had good values and was always respectful, always." Mathis, a 40-year-old former prosecutor, has represented three other kids shot down by people he calls "domestic terrorists" in "senseless gun violence." But he says, "Chris was different. He came from a good home. He wasn't an at-risk youth. He knew right from wrong."

Kristina divorced and moved with Chris to Pearland, Texas, near Houston. "I wanted to get him away from all that," she says.

But Chris dropped out of school and soon returned to South Florida. He worked at a car wash on NW 27th Avenue near Sun Life Stadium for a while and gained some independence. He briefly moved to Palm Beach County, where his uncle Howard Hardie helped him earn a GED. But when he moved into his grandomother's home in Miramar, the old friends came back into his life.

He began smoking pot more often than he should have. He wanted to quit, says his uncle Paul, "but he confided in me that it was hard to give it up in a day. The drugs would make him hyper. He knew we didn't approve."

The night Chris died, he was at home around 8 p.m. when Paul called from Miami International Airport. A ride had failed to appear, so could Chris pick him up? They headed back to Paul's place just off Miramar Parkway. "He was very happy that night," Paul recalls. "He said, 'You see, I am not dressing like a thug anymore.'" He talked about his new job. "He was ecstatic about that."

The two chatted for a while until Chris poured himself a cup of fruit punch and headed out the door.

"There's nothing alcoholic there?" Paul said, emerging from the bathroom. "You can't be drinking and driving."

"No, it's fruit punch."

"Where you going?" Paul asked.

"Home."

But instead, Chris headed to the Miami Gardens "candy house." He was dead within minutes. Neighbors didn't hear yelling or arguing before the shooting. He was shot twice in the head and twice in the chest.

"My guess is he probably just stopped off to buy a joint," his mom says. "This wasn't a random incident. It was somene who had a vendetta out for him. I can't imagine that someone would shoot him this way otherwise. Whoever this person is, it was someone who had knowledge of Chris. It had to be."

The police report says a maroon Dodge pickup truck pulled into the area just before the shooting and then left immediately after. Neighbors I questioned say someone stepped out of the truck and fired at Chris. The day I was there, a new red Dodge pickup was parked out front.

Though four neighbors I spoke with, including Kenya and Charlene, say cops haven't returned to question them, Miami Gardens police spokesman Sgt. Bill Bamford insists officers have scoured the area. "The leads are few, but we are certainly working this case," he says. The department, he adds, did not issue a news release about the killing, which took place around 9:20 p.m., likely scuttling any press coverage. For a reporter to get a response from any police higherup can take days.

There have been three recent murders, Bamford adds. Indeed, the city might be Florida's murder central. Twenty-two people were killed last year in Miami Gardens, whose population is less than 110,000. The murder total is higher than that of any other city in Dade County except Miami.

"I don't believe the police have done anything," Kristina says. "They told me they had handed out flyers, but when I went out there, I didn't see one. Not one."

Adds Chris's uncle Paul: "I think this should have gotten more media attention. His life had just started. We need to make people aware of this so it doesn't happen again. Next time, it could be their kid."

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22 comments
Tauheedahhasan
Tauheedahhasan

Our children our most valuable natural resources! To the family so sorry for your loss but I am sending you love and prayers! I can't even vision the hurt and pain of losing a child! The only thing I can do is pray and keep praying there is nothing I can say or do to take the pain away!

Imawriter4reel
Imawriter4reel

It appears that we've become a society that just doesn't care...To the family, I am sorry for your loss.

wcbaby
wcbaby

Regardless of his past, this 20 year old and plenty more of life to live. None of you can say what he would have become. As a mother my heart is with his mom and family. I pray that God comforts you where the evils of this world have placed sorrow and despair.

CAMSHEEL
CAMSHEEL

Very sad my prayers to the the family of chris,

Collinitzki
Collinitzki

Hey Chuck, you didn't think to ask Charlene if that red Dodge pickup was the same one that was there on the night of the murder? You made an obvious effort to point out that there was a new red Dodge pickup there when you visited although the one at the murder scene was described as "maroon" so not sure what, if anything, you are implying about the truck you saw.

J.R.
J.R.

Miami New Times does have a flair for taking any story and making the criminal into a victim; a societal leech into a hero; a deserved fate into a cause celebre. Regardless, those involved in the criminal world do sometimes get what they deserve. I do not care about race, ethnicity or whatever other attribute they have. Those involved in the criminal world should all be eliminated. We will all be better off. (Before any of you morons begin to type, remember that the storied criminal was, well, a criminal. He was not getting his life straight, nor an angel, nor any of that other chaff. In the end, he only cost the taxpayers - us - $500,000 in medical costs).

elbastardo
elbastardo

Thursday? I thought today was Wednesday.

Anointedhalls4
Anointedhalls4

IT A SHAME THAT THIS HAPPEN TO THIS YOUNG NAME.. BUT IF HE WAS WHITE WE WOULD OF HEARD ABOUT IT FROM THE FIRST DAY.

Sherryl182
Sherryl182

Lets not be cowards-tell who it is this person does not deserve to rome this earth without consequence-he took a life something he cannot give back who gave him this right-He is a killer and should be caught and put away for life-How cold and a BIG COWARD!!

Rausky79
Rausky79

My sympathy and condolences go out to the family. It's a shame that this youngster died in suuch a violent manner. I hope and pray the killer is caught and brought to justice. Its scary being a youngster nowadays. There's too much violence, drugs, and corruption in our society. May he rest in peace.

Gbell
Gbell

Who cares what his past was JUST FIND HIS COLD BLOODED KILLER!!! God rest his soul...

Andrea
Andrea

Urging everyone to share this story. Someone knows something. This could very well happen to anyone our children at any moment. Please don't wait until it is your child.

Fernie B
Fernie B

may he find in death the peace he couldnt find in life

wcbaby
wcbaby

So are you implying that he deserved for his life to be taken? Are you implying that his family shouldn't be allowed the SAME rights every other family put in this situation and see his killer brought to justice. If your judging this 20 year old based off the speculation rather than things you've seen before your very eyes than you are as ignorant as the officers who haven't taken the proper steps to bring the KILLER to justice.

Crickit7881@yahoo. com
Crickit7881@yahoo. com

Indeed! If he wasn't at a known drug house he would be alive today. Consequences.

Melissa Grace Brown Taylor
Melissa Grace Brown Taylor

Just because he wasn't an "angel" doesn't mean he deserved to be shot down in cold blood. He was somebodies child whom they loved very much, did she deserve to lose her son??? Is human life worth less then money??? You have ice running through your veins.

Jesuscares
Jesuscares

Amen....and may his killer find no peace or rest, until justice is served....Lord help us all

J.R.
J.R.

He chose his lifestyle, this is what he got. I do have ice in my veins; thank you for the compliment. Dealing with reality requires a cold objective view. And yes, yes it does mean he should be shot down in cold blood. Or, in his case, hot blood. Stop defending criminals. Stop breeding them, too. Close those legs.

J.R.
J.R.

Let me get my violin. My comment stands. But please do continue to defend the criminal. Defend the criminal with something factual or smart. Do it.

J.R.
J.R.

My my, such anger. Are you going to do a "drive-by" tonight? Did you forget that it was a criminal, not a good guy?

Melissa Grace Brown Taylor
Melissa Grace Brown Taylor

Wow, could you be anymore of a bastard?!?!?! I refrained from being insulting before but you clearly don't deserve it. You're a presumptuous asshole!!!!

Cntalen30
Cntalen30

@J.R you are a coward ass punk! s we speak someone in your family maybe geting shot and left to die in cold/hot blood. You are a heartless asshole and need to get hit by a tractor tralior for posting that comment about somene love. Go screw yourself!!! and keep your comments to yourself!!!!

 
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