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Mother grieves for son, York's latest homicide victim

Written by Ted Czech/York Daily Record | Oct 27, 2016 6:35 AM
eugene_hillian.jpg

Euegen Hillian IV, 18, of York. Police say he was found shot to death at the intersection of South George and Maple streets in York on Tuesday night. (Photo: Submitted)

Eugene Hillian IV was a senior at William Penn and a wide receiver for the Bearcats.

(York) -- Patricia Green rushed to the intersection of South George and Maple streets on Tuesday night after numerous family members called.

"Boobie's been shot!" they told her.

"Boobie" was the nickname given to Green's son, Eugene Hillian IV, 18.

According to York City Police, about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, officers were called to the intersection of South George and Maple, where they found Hillian shot to death.

The next morning, family and friends gathered at Green's home on Girard Avenue to comfort her.

Green said her son had his troubles in the past, had done time at the youth detention center. But he had put that behind him, getting good grades at William Penn Senior High School and playing wide receiver on the Bearcats football team.

"Boy, he turned it around; no grades below 80," she said. "We had an appointment this morning at 10:30 to start his senior project."

The senior student was planning on attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster. He wanted to be an engineer, she said.

Lt. Troy Bankert, who commands the city's detective division, said Wednesday that Hillian was shot five times and that his death is a homicide.

"He was definitely targeted," Bankert said, although he would not provide details on why detectives believe that.

Bankert said he is confident there are people who either saw, heard or know about the shooting; but, as with the majority of the shootings and homicides his department investigates, very few have come forward with information.

"We're not getting any cooperation," he said. Receiving information from witnesses is "absolutely vital" to an investigation, he said.

Ted Czech examines the scene of a fatal shooting in York. Ted Czech, York Daily Record

Chaotic scene

Bankert said that when officers reached the scene of the shooting, they "encountered an aggressive crowd of about 50 people," and so they called in help from West York Borough Police and West Manchester Township Police departments.

"When I got there, I see my son laying on the ground," Green said. There was a sheet over his body, but she could see his fingers and his jacket protruding from its edges.

"I just wanted to tell him good-bye," she said.

Green said she was stopped by police officers as she tried to reach her son and that she was beaten with flashlights. On Wednesday morning, she still had a hospital bracelet with her name on it on her wrist.

"If you don't want me to get to my son, don't let me see him," she said.

Bankert denied that Green was harmed at all.

"She was not beaten," he said. "That's completely false ... She tried to get to her son, which is understandable. She was stopped."

"Boobie" remembered

Green, seated in her living room Wednesday morning, said she did not believe there was anyone who had a vendetta against her son.

As a mother, she would occasionally ask him if anybody "had any beef with him in the streets," she said.

He would tell her "no," saying, "I can walk where I want to walk, I ain't got no beef with anybody."

She spoke with him minutes before his death, when he called around 8 p.m. to ask for a ride home. He was at Maple and South George, visiting his aunt.

"He goes there often, almost every day," she said.

Then, he called about a minute later, saying he wasn't ready to come home.

"Ten, maybe 15 minutes later, he's dead," Green said.

His sister, Nijaia Hillian, 16, sat on a couch nearby.

"He was the best brother ever,"' she said. "We fought all the time, (but) he never left my side."

His step-grandfather, Kendrix Hill, said that in addition to being a student and an athlete, Eugene Hillian worked part-time at a nearby car wash.

"I used to take (him) to work," Hill said.

Dedicated football player

Bearcats Football coach Russ Stoner confirmed that Hillian was a senior wide receiver/defensive back, who came out for the football team a week before the season started. Stoner said the 18-year-old played predominantly on the junior varsity team.

"He was a good kid who worked hard," Stoner said.

Stoner, in his first year as head coach at William Penn, said players on the team "are numb to the violence in York city."

"I don't even know what to say," Stoner said Tuesday night.

"It didn't have to happen. It didn't have to happen," he later added. "I just don't get it."

Stoner said he and his fellow Bearcats "support the family."

William Penn athletic director Ron Coursey said he didn't know the circumstances surrounding Hillian's death.

"No one in the district really knows the backstory," Coursey said. "It's a bitter pill to swallow."

Coursey, who's in his first year as Bearcats' athletic director, said he had "very positive interactions" with Hillian.

Coursey told a story about how the senior recently called him prior to a Bearcats football game. Hillian didn't attend school that particular day, but asked Coursey for a blue and orange tie -- Bearcat colors -- so he could be in line with the team's dress code on football game day.

"That spoke volumes to me," Coursey said. "He didn't have to make that call. Honestly, if he didn't I wouldn't have known that he wasn't dressed like the rest of the team. But he wanted to be a part of it."

A news release from the York School District called Hillian's death "tragic."

"We extend our deepest condolences to Eugene's family, friends, teachers and everyone who loved him," the release states. "The district has made counselors available to any students and staff who need help coping with this tragedy."

Staff writers Teddy Feinberg and Teresa Boeckel contributed to this story.

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News, York

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