Grief overflows in shooting death of former UMass Boston assistant basketball coach
Two families — their lives interwoven for decades — found themselves together again Sunday facing a profound grief that was all too familiar.
Carol Price was on the porch of her Greenwood Street home in Dorchester, a mother trying to make sense of the senseless: Why did violence take her child from her?
Her 32-year-old son, Kendric Price, had been shot and killed several houses away, on the street he grew up on, early Saturday morning.
Holding her tightly were a woman and man who have suffered the same anguish: the Rev. Kim Odom and her husband, the Rev. Ronald Odom. Their son, Steven Odom, was killed by a stray bullet at age 13 in 2007. The two boys, Kendric and Steven, were friends.
On Sunday, Kim leaned over Carol as she sat, a tear rolling down her cheek. Ronald kneeled, his head bowed.
“I don’t know how to do this,” Carol said.
Ronald replied: “We’re there. We’re there for you.”
The violence that claimed Price’s life struck shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, when he was found dead at 12A Greenwood St., according to Boston police.
A financial analyst, basketball coach, and youth mentor, Price had suffered “multiple gunshot wounds” and was found in a garage attached to the house that had been “converted into a room,’’ according to a police report.
His death was the city’s eighth homicide of the year. No arrests had been made in the case by Sunday evening, Boston police spokesman Officer James Moccia said.
Carol Price said her son was a 6-foot, 9-inch “big, humble giant,” someone who wanted to spend his life helping others. She said she remembered his laughter and beaming smile.
“It’s very heartbreaking to think about Kendric not being with us,” she told reporters at her home. “Kendric didn’t deserve that.”
She listed her son’s accomplishments: A graduate of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, he studied and played basketball with a Big Ten scholarship at the University of Michigan, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in just three years, going on to become a financial analyst.
A lifelong love of basketball had also led to a pro career playing in the NBA’s D-League and with the Harlem Wizards. In recent years, he had served as an assistant coach for teams at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Roxbury Community College, and he was currently coaching several local youth teams.
“Everyone thought he was just a dreamer,” Carol Price said. “But Kendric was a visionary and wanted to change things.”
As she spoke, a family member held her hand.
Price had just started a job at Cristo Rey High School, according to its president, Kevin Kraska. Price was a coordinator between students and companies that are involved with the school’s work study program, Kraska said.
Price had an impact on the school, even though he started just six days ago, he said.
“He had this electric smile — he immediately connected with the kids,” Kraska said in a phone interview.
Price gave back to his community, inspired by the memory of Steven Odom, who was killed by what police said at the time was an “errant bullet” intended for someone else.
Price launched a program intended to help children from Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Cambridge learn the basics of business and finance.
‘‘I’m not saying I can change the world,’’ Price told the Globe in 2012, ‘‘but I’m planning to make a difference one child at a time.’’
He would later launch Big Business Network to expand those efforts. Price expressed faith that a good kid facing a choice will pick “the good option,” he said in a statement posted to its website. “Let’s give them better options so they can actually compete in the game of life,” Price said.
Those who knew Price — loved ones, friends, and former colleagues — struggled Sunday to understand why the life of a man dedicated to peace would be cut short by violence.
“He was the type of person who was trying to lead kids away from violence,” said Kwami Green, the former head coach of Roxbury Community College’s basketball team.
Green said he recalled the gentle, calm demeanor Price brought to his role as assistant coach, particularly when that team faced a tragedy in 2015.
Alex DoSouto, 24, a player on the team, died in a shooting hours after a practice. The other players leaned on Price, Green said.
“Kendric was a rock for the kids,” Green said.
Since Price’s death, Green has been taking calls from former players, he said.
“They can’t believe it could be Kendric,” Green said. “It’s a great loss.”
On Sunday morning, along the sidewalk in front of the Greenwood Street property where Price was found, a few dozen candles were placed in the snow as a shrine.
Throughout the day, mourners stood over the candles for a few moments in silence.
Among them was a 32-year-old woman who identified herself as Price’s “godsister,” who remembered him as a “free-spirited soul,” she said. She declined to give her name.
“His story should not be told like this,” she said. “We were still writing it, man.”
The property manager, Vu Cuong, said neighbors have complained in the past about loud, late-night parties held in the unit adjacent to where Price’s body was found.
Cuong has spoken to the tenant several times about the issue, the last being about six months ago, he said.
News of Price’s death has rocked the neighborhood, said his lifelong friend, Tim Prioleau, 34, who lives next door to Price’s mother.
Price, who lived in downtown Boston, was well-known and well-liked, he said.
“He’s a positive person; he’s a good dude,” Prioleau said.
Online, some of Price’s former teammates posted eulogies in honor of him, remembering his character on and off the court.
“Never met anyone with such an infectious personality, could light up a whole room upon entry,” Jevohn Shepherd wrote.
C.J. Lee wrote: “Anyone that knew him would tell you that Kendric is truly unforgettable.”
Price’s former coach at Michigan, Tommy Amaker, offered his condolences in a statement.
“I am deeply saddened to learn the tragic news about the loss of Kendric,” said Amaker, now the basketball coach at Harvard. “Our hearts are filled with grief and our prayers and thoughts go out to Kendric’s mom and family.”
Speaking at his home on Sunday, Ronald Odom pointed to Price’s achievements. “His life spoke for itself: He has a beautiful mind,” Odom said.
Children in the Odom and Price families grew up together, attending the same classes, playing the same sports.
“Our families are like . . . ” Odom said, with his hand raised and his fingers crossed.
Price’s death reminded him of when his own son died, Odom said. “It crushed my heart,” he said. “It brought us back to the day.”
When Steven Odom died, “they were there for us,” he added. “We will definitely be there for them.”
Later that day, he and his wife stood on Carol Price’s porch, grieving with her.
“That’s our son, too,” Odom said.
Carol Price replied: Kendric Price is a “neighborhood son.”
“That’s what it’s about: giving back,” Carol Price said. “We all love each other; we all embrace each other.”
But she struggled to grasp any reason for the violence that claimed her son’s life.
“I don’t think I’ll ever understand it,” Carol Price said. “Why?”