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Police were searching for the man suspected of killing 20-year-old Keith Frank last month in a flash of violence outside a South Richmond Hill party that left an 8-month-old girl without a father.
Keith Frank, who moved to Queens from Guyana when he was 12, died exactly two months before his 21st birthday after he was shot once in the torso at around 4:45 a.m. Dec. 11, according to the NYPD.
Police were looking for a man named Troy Thomas in connection with the shooting, according to Frank’s mother, who saw a wanted poster in the lobby of the 106th Precinct.
Frank was attending a birthday party near 132nd Street and 109th Avenue and ran into some other men with whom he had a ongoing beef, according to his mother, Carol Kyte.
“You wouldn’t believe how stupid it is. It’s just about dancing and girls,” she said in an interview in her home. “Everybody said this is a senseless killing.”
In the future, someone will have to sit down Frank’s daughter, Keyanna, and explain to her what happened, but for now Kyte only knows that a group of other Guyanese men were at odds with one of Frank’s friends over sophomoric quibbles like break-dancing or the attention of girls in the neighborhood.
“They think they are so macho,” Kyte said, shaking her head.
Frank’s life in Queens began at MS 8 in Jamaica. He then attended Franklin K. Lane High School for a time, but eventually transferred to Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and Sciences in Glen Oaks.
He worked a series of jobs after graduating, and at the time of his death was picking up and dropping off laundry from nursing homes all over the state.
“He was just a fun, nice guy,” his mother said.
Though no Amare Stoudemire, Frank loved basketball and was a die-hard New York Knicks fan, often making outrageous bets with his family that rarely ended in his favor, Kyte remembered with a smile.
But he played cricket well and was a pitcher for his team, which garnered him a trophy.
He recently moved in with his girlfriend and their daughter, but Frank never even heard her speak her first words, according to Kyte.
“He couldn’t wait for her to walk and talk,” she said. “And now he doesn’t have the chance to do that.”
Frank was buried in Maple Grove Cemetery days after the murder.
Kyte, in a final motherly act, dressed her son at the funeral home before the ceremony. Cutting some of his clothes and fitting them on his body, she could not get over the tiny hole in his side.
It might have even been overlooked by someone else, but was the cause of death.
“It was so sad. He was just lying there,” she said. “That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my 40 years.”
Questions still remain about the December night. Her son was shot about a mile from Jamaica Hospital, a 3-mile trip. But when the ambulance arrived he was taken instead to New York Hospital Queens, about 6 miles away.
Kyte has also been hearing rumors that Thomas, who is wanted in connection with the killings but has not been formally charged with a crime, has fled to Miami or all the way back to Guyana.
“I just hope and pray they get this guy,” she said. “I don’t know what would possess a human being to do this to another human being.”
Frank left behind an older brother and two younger sisters, which made Christmas — one less person at the dinner table, unused Monopoly pieces — that much harder for the family.
“It’s not the same anymore,” Kyte said, adding that Frank’s 10-year-old sister had nearly shut down in the wake of her brother’s death. “She’s not the same anymore.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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