It has been two and a half weeks since Albertus Magnus basketball star Jaqhawn Walters was shot and killed on Hartford’s North End. In the days following, his closest friends not just honoring his memory, but his future that should have been.
“When we played ball at the rec, nobody really wanted to guard him,” said Chuck Reese, who was one of many to lose a baseball game to the hometown hero.
Walters was a standout athlete on the basketball court. He made a name for himself at Albertus Magnus College and turned that into a professional career in Argentina. He was supposed to be there on Saturday, September 19, if not for the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, he was shot and killed after what his friends describe as an altercation.
“I heard the shots, I ran down here, asked a few people what happened,” said Walters’ friend EJ Crawford, he was one of the first on the scene. “It was just awful, one of the worst pains I ever felt. I still feel it.”
Walters was supposed to be the future of Hartford’s North End. Instead, his friends are wondering what they can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We all need to back the people in this community trying to do more for this community,” said Chris Prescott.
But in Walters’ memory, there’s another chance. Just days after his death, their neighborhood got another professional basketball player. Crawford signed his professional contract at the site of his mentor’s memorial.
“Just the timing is crazy,” said Crawford. “I feel like this is because of him.”
It’s for him, too. Walters’ friends are certain if it can happen to “JQ”, it can happen to anyone.
“We have to do something to show people in this community that we do have good people like JQ,” said Eric Crawford, EJ’s dad.
They’re hoping to start more youth programming in their community in Walters’ memory, but are asking for more support from local leaders.
Albertus Magnus will host a virtual memorial service for Walters on Thursday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m. Walters scored 1,821 career points and 1,167 rebounds at Albertus and was a two-time D3Hoops.com All-American, two-time GNAC All-Tournament Team, and two-time GNAC Player of the Year.