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‘Junior’ Vandy Remembered By Friends, Family One Year After His Death

Francis Vandy Vigil - 2

Borboh Bayoh, center, speaks about Francis Vandy during a July 16 memorial vigil for Vandy, who was killed last year.


Several dozen members of the township’s Sierra Leonian community gathered at Hempstead Gardens July 16 to remember one of their own killed there last year.

Francis Vandy was found by police June 30, 2015 lying in a parking lot at the apartment complex off Route 27, the victim of a gunshot wound to his head. Vandy was pronounced dead at the scene.

Emendo Hill, 27, of Piscataway and Dashawn Carreker, 23, of New Brunswick were charged with Vandy’s death, although Carreker is the man identified by police as the one who shot Vandy.

Vandy’s friends and family gathered at the spot where he was killed July 16 to remember him and call for unity in the Sierra Leone community, as well as an end to violence.

The vigil was led off by Christian and Muslim prayers, and featured speakers including members of Vandy’s family and friends, Mayor Phillip Kramer and Township Councilman Charles Onyejiaka (D-Ward 3).

Vandy, the man they called “Junior,” “is being remembered by his humility, by his kindness,” said Borboh Bayoh, a friend of Vandy’s.

“I’m an elder brother of Junior, not from the same mother, but he was always a brother to me,” Bayoh said.

One of the things for which Vandy, a father of two, will be remembered is how he interacted with children, some off the speakers said. Several noted that he would always buy ice cream for neighborhood kids.

Kramer said that although the world “is a scary, scary p[lace,” he has faith because of people like Vandy’s friends and family.

“This community, this love of each other … It’s not just a tolerance of each other, it’s a complete acceptance of each other,” he said. “That’s what gives me faith. You give me faith.”

“One thing we pray is that may his soul and the souls of all the departed, rest in perfect peace,” Onyejiaka said. “Where he is now, he is in a better hand.”

“let us learn from this,” he said. “Let us come together and criticize and condemn the use of guns and force.”

Bayoh called for the Sierra Leone community to come together in Vandy’s memory.

“In Franklin Township, the Sierra Leone community is growing,” he said. “Let’s continue that unification amongst us. We don’t want the death of Junior to go in vain, we want it to serve as a symbol of unity amongst us as a community within Franklin Township.”

“Let’s use the death of Junior, our brother, to make sure we look at ourselves in the mirror and say, I’m going to be for change,” he said. “What can I do to make sure I affect that change in the community.”

 

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