A quiet intersection in a residential area of Astoria looked very different Monday night.
Police say an SUV struck and killed a 16-year-old as he was riding a Citi Bike electric bike down 21st Avenue and 21st Street around 9:30 p.m. Police say the driver kept going.
The victim — Jayden McLaurin — his friends say he was athletic, played sports in high school and neighbors say he was always outgoing and courteous.
A small memorial slowly grows where he lived at the Ravenswood Houses, nearly two miles from where he was killed.
Someone scrawled “Long Live Jayden” on the intercom. The pain of loss just starting to set in.
“Jaden was a kind young man, gave back to this community, played sports. He loved playing sports basketball football, and he was just so respectful,” Leslie Amos, a neighbor, said.
Amos says he’s known Jayden for more than a decade and describes how he helped his neighbors during COVID-19.
“He came out when we used to do the food give out he used to help his Mom and the resident association,” he said.
Police arrested 18-year-old Ibrahim Yaser from Long Island.
The SUV was found blocks from the scene at 23rd Street and 22nd Drive by police.
Yaser is charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license.
People in the neighborhood said they’re upset.
“It’s terrible. I’m a mother myself. I could not imagine what the parents are going through right now,” Diana Cifuentes, who lives in Astoria, said.
According to the pedestrian advocacy organization, Transportation Alternatives, 11 bicyclists have been killed in wrecks citywide this year. Last year the death toll reached 17 — that was a more than 500% increase over the average during the previous five years.
Each number — a life taken, leaving a painful void forever.
“What I can say is he would help any elderly person coming in the building with anything like that, their groceries. That was the kind of young man he was,” Amos said.