With two of his friends watching, nineteen-year-old Diquese Young was fatally shot during a game of Russian roulette.
Having graduated from high school this past spring, the teenager was beloved by his Camden, N.J., community. In fact, it was about a year ago that he was voted homecoming king by his peers at Woodrow Wilson High School, where he played football and ran track. In February, Young was recognized by the school district for his academic improvement and for being a positive role model.
Speaking to Patch, his grieving football coach Preston Brown said that Young was “one of the most dedicated, loyal, and committed individuals I have ever met. Dino, as we know him, would be the highlight of every situation.” Brown added. “He could dance, he could sing rap, was never afraid to compete in anything. When I first met Dino he was ineligible to compete in football because of his grades during his freshman year. When I told him he would not be able to play he simply asked well can I at least just practice every day to help the team? I had never met a young person willing to commit so much at such a young age knowing the reward was gonna be for others.”
The young man and his two friends made the tragic choice to engage in the game of Russian roulette last week. During the game, a bullet struck Young in the head and he died two days later. Patch provides the awful details:
Young, [and his friends] Newman and Mason had taken turns pointing the gun to their own head and pulling the trigger, according to the probable cause statement. Newman and Mason each took a turn with no bullet being fired. However, when Young pulled the trigger, a shot was fired and he was struck in the head.
Newman and Mason went upstairs to tell Newman’s mother what had happened, authorities said. Newman then ran outside to flag down his brother. Morton Newman and his brother then took Young to MD Anderson Cancer Center, believing it to be Cooper University Hospital.
Camden County Police were then called to MD Anderson just after 8:30 p.m., according to the prosecutor’s office. Young was then taken across the street to Cooper University Hospital by EMS. He died as a result of his injuries two days later.
Young’s two friends “have been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault (pointing a firearm), and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Mason was also charged with a certain persons offense.”
I would caution us to be circumspect in how we respond to this story. Yes, playing Russian roulette is a bad decision. There but for the grace of God go many of us. We may not have been tempted to play a game like Russian roulette as a kid, but no doubt many of us made unwise choices that could have easily ended in our death or the death of someone around us.
Worrying about your children is a full-time job for parents. Remembering the stupid things you did as a kid feeds the fear. Tragic stories like this one out of Camden serve as a reminder that we need to be diligent in training, guiding, and, yes, even supervising our children.