December 26, 2005: A day that will live in infamy in my mind. It was on that day that a young man, who had everything to live for, was gunned down for trying to protect his little sister on a city bus in Durham, NC.
17 year old Lazarrean “Quan” McLean accompanied his younger sister and brother on the bus to go to the mall. While riding, an older boy started harassing Quan’s sister. Quan was determined to defend his sister’s honor so he and this young punk exchanged heated words. Then the bus came to a stop at the mall. Quan, his sister and brother got off. Moments later, shots rang out from the area around the bus. It seems as though this juvenile delinquent was determined that he was going to have the last say in the matter. He sprayed bullets towards Quan. At least two struck him in the back. Another bullet struck another bus passenger who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened on the bus. Quan continued to run until he collapsed inside the breezeway of the mall. That’s where he took his last breath.
I’ll never forget that day. I was sitting in the newsroom waiting and hoping for something to happen because it was a slow news day and you can tell only so many “Shopping after Christmas” stories. Then I heard about the shooting at the mall on the police scanner. The first thing I thought was to call my daughter. She was at home safe. She said she knew her boyfriend was going to the mall so she was going to call him to see if he knew anything about it. I then called one of my girlfriends to tell her to stay away from the mall because there was a shooting out there. We were joking about the craziness of having a shooting at the mall. I then called some of my police contacts to see if I could get any inside information---before any of the other stations could find out anything. That’s when I learned that the young man who had been gunned down---shot in cold blood---MURDERED---was my daughter’s boyfriend, Quan. My daughter must’ve found out around the same time because when I called home I could hear her crying hysterically in the background. It was a surreal moment in time.
This was one time I was so glad I worked in the media because the “white shirts” were so quick to pass judgment on Quan and declare the whole incident as being “gang related.” The attitude in the newsroom was since they were two young black males they had to be in a gang. Even the police initially put out that theory but between and Quan’s grandparents and my strong influence in the newsroom, we made it clearly known for the record that Quan was NOT a member of any gang. Yes, he was a typical teen who got into trouble on occasion but he had too much going for him to mess it all up and he knew that.
During his short lived life, Quan went to Culinary Arts school and could cook just about as well as any adult. He also participated in the West End Community theater program with dreams of being an actor. He also played basketball.
Our lives have changed so much from a year ago. My daughter is now the mother of a son who will never know his father. The juvenile delinquent, who managed to elude police for several weeks after the killing, is still behind bars awaiting his fate. Quan’s grandparents are still grieving hard over this senseless action.
I used to be one of those people who said, “Never give up on a child because they all have potential.” I don’t say that anymore because there are young people out here who fear nothing and would harm you at the drop of a hat. There are young people out here who’ve never learned anything about respect, morals, values and what it means to be a law abiding citizen.
Do I blame this juvenile delinquent for killing an innocent young man on December 26, 2005? No---I blame his mother and grandmother and if you saw them on the day of the suspect’s first appearance in court, and the 'behavior" they displayed, you’d know why.