Woodson basketball star killed near his home

Ra-Heem Jackson, a starting guard on H.D. Woodson’s basketball team and all-conference player, was shot and killed near his Southeast home Thursday night, according to friends, police and school officials.

Police found the 16-year-old suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the 1300 block of Congress Street about 9:30 p.m. Jackson was pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said.

Craig Gray, a family friend, said the teenager was heading home from a nearby bus stop, probably after visiting a friend, when a group of men chased him. Gray said Jackson was found in the courtyard of the apartment building in which he lived with his mother and three siblings.

No arrests have been made. Police declined to release further details of the shooting.

“I have no idea where this came from,” said Gray, whose family has known Jackson’s for years. “Unless you knew him, Ra-Heem wouldn’t say too much to you. He was very reserved and very laid back.”

Those that knew Jackson remembered him as a passionate player on the basketball court and a quiet honor roll student off of it.

On the court, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Jackson was a slashing guard who created his own shot, averaging nearly 16 points for the Warriors (9-15). He tied his season-high with 28 points in a Jan. 7 loss to rival Eastern, 79-69. He was selected to the DCIAA East first team.

As the Warriors’ most talented player as a junior, Jackson was trying to mold his personality into that of a team leader.

“He was a great guy,” said Woodson Coach Gregory Harris. “But that fire and passion, he was trying to control it. He was very strong and tough.”

Jackson, who spent his freshman year at Dunbar and Ballou, had attended Woodson since he was a sophomore.

“He was a great student, solid student academically,” said Woodson’s athletic director, Ed Wilkerson. “He was a great basketball player, just a well-rounded kid.”

A crisis prevention team was at the school Friday, Wilkerson said.

“We just know we’re going to miss him, because we were together, kind of like brothers, teammates,” Harris said.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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