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Airman's shooting death leaves family searching for answers

Jul. 17, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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Shaquille Hargrove of Wilson, N.C., was shot to death Saturday in downtown Denver. (Courtesy of Teonnia Monea Lucas)

Airman 1st Class Shaquille Hargrove tried to make his visits home to Wilson, N.C. a surprise. His friends would pick him up from the airport and take him to his grandmother’s house.

But he couldn’t get much by Golynda Hargrove Powell. “I could always tell,” she said.

Hargrove was her eldest grandchild. She was at the hospital when he was born, cared for him while his mother worked long hours to support the family, picked him up from school and took him to church and basketball practice. When Hargrove graduated high school in 2011 at 17, Powell encouraged him to join the Air Force the following month.

He spent three weeks at home in March while on leave from his job as a satellite systems operator for the 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., where he had been for about a year, Powell said. At the end of the visit, she accompanied him in his new car from North Carolina to Colorado.

At 19, Hargrove didn’t have a lot of driving experience. Powell wanted to make sure he got back to Buckley safely. It was the last time she saw him.

Hargrove was shot to death in downtown Denver early Saturday when a gunman opened fire after a large fight broke out on the street, Channel 7 News in Denver reported.

Police on Tuesday released a sketch of the unidentified suspect, described as a light-skinned black man in his 20s who stands about 5-feet-7 and weighs between 160 and 180 pounds, the station reported. He had facial acne, wore wire-rim glasses and had tightly woven braids worn under a do-rag.

Powell described her grandson as smart, hardworking and infinitely polite. “He was just a joy. He never gave me any problems. He was always respectful, even through his teenage and high school years. It was always ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am.’”

Hargrove quietly and calmly accepted his mother and grandmother’s rules, even when they told him he couldn’t do something he wanted to do. “I’ve never known him to be angry or mad. He was always laughing and joking,” Powell said.

“The way he died is devastating,” she said. “He really didn’t deserve it. I have no bitterness. I’m not angry with the person who [took his life.] I really, really want to find out what happened. I just want justice for him.”

For more about this story, read Monday's edition of Air Force Times.

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