One month ago, Jamon Baker was just concluding his sophomore season with the Auburn (Ala.) High varsity boys basketball team. The budding point guard was only an occasional contributors for the Tigers, but the quicksilver dribbler had already shown signs of a promising future with the program.
Now he lies in a coffin, serving as yet another cautionary tale about the danger of guns in the hands of young men, even those who aren't motivated by a vendetta.
In Baker's case, the teenager's passing appears to be entirely a tragic accident. According to Alabama NBC affiliate WSFA, Baker was struck in the chest by a bullet fired by his 20-year-old cousin, Demario Pitts, while both were in Baker's home. While Pitts' case will be referred to a Lee County grand jury, Auburn police officials believe that the shooting was entirely accidental.
"At approximately 1:00 this morning, [Pitts] came down to the police station and we interviewed him extensively. It appears it was an accidental shooting," Auburn police chief Tommy Dawson told Auburn NBC affiliate WLTZ. "It's a sad day when you lose a student to a tragic accident like this."
It's hard to argue with Dawson's final statement, particular when one considers how unnecessary Baker's death appears to be. As a sophomore, the point guard would have had two more years of high school to grow into himself and his basketball game before heading off to college or life.
Now, he has none because of a stray bullet from a gun in his house which was fired by his own cousin.