Flowers Remain For Beloved Crossing Guard At Avenues School Memorial

The 45 year-old victim, a beloved crossing guard for the Avenues School of the World campus on 10th Ave., was shot and killed while riding a Manhattan-bound 3 train on Jan. 14. He was reportedly trying to break up a fight. A GoFundMe that was started to help his grieving family has raised $336,143 as of Jan. 22.

| 23 Jan 2024 | 11:14

“Richard Henderson.” As far as memorials for the departed go, this one was stark, communicating the gravity of sudden loss with a mere name. Contrasted with the grayscale blusters of an unpleasantly cold Jan. 18, however, it was also a burst of vibrancy illuminating 10th Ave.

After all, Henderson’s name was written in multicolored crayons, in a symbolic nod to the young and curious students of the Avenues School of the World. The 45 year-old was their beloved crossing guard, lighting up their world on the way to the classroom each morning. Unsurprisingly, they have placed his memorial in a nook near the entrance to their school.

A bouquet of flowers, resilient despite the chill, had been carefully placed above the memorial. Below Henderson’s name, four students had left a devastating message: “There are no words to console, we will miss you.”

On Jan. 14, Henderson was riding a Manhattan-bound 3 train in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn when tragedy struck. It was shortly after 8 p.m. Two passengers were reportedly getting into a heated argument about loud music, police said, when Henderson tried to act as a peacemaker. According to the NYPD, he was then shot in the shoulder and back, and later pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital.

The authorities have since released a photo of a suspect, which they said was captured by surveillance cameras. No arrest had been made as of press time on Jan. 22.

In a statement, Avenues Head of School Judy Fox said that Henderson “was an amazing man who radiated kindness and joy. His loss will be deeply felt across our entire campus community and we are committed to honoring his memory and the incredible legacy he leaves behind.”

Leo Prince, a 10th grader at the Avenues School, has since started a GoFundMe to raise money for Henderson’s bereaved family. As of Jan. 22, it has raised more than $367,000, blowing past its $315,000 goal.

”Richard’s life was a mosaic of selflessness and dedication. For over a decade, he served as a crossing guard, shepherding young lives safely, a role that mirrored his innate desire to protect and care for those around him. Rich was a peaceful man, who never had a quarrel with the world but lost his life trying to quell one,” the donation page reads.

Nord Anglia Education, the parent company for the private Avenues School, gave $50,000. If donor comments are any indication, both those who knew and didn’t know Richie have donated alike.

Christina Chang poignantly thanked Richie “for always helping me cross 10th Ave even when there were just enough seconds left. We miss you.”

Mya Cahana, who noted that she had known Richie since she was an 8 year-old student at the Avenues School, said that “I wore a Seahawks beanie everyday that winter, and since then he always called me Ms. Seattle. I can’t believe Friday was the last time I would ever see him.”

Karissa Rippy merely said that they were “a stranger honoring his ‘legacy of peace and kindness.’”

In an interview with NY1, Prince fondly remembered Henderson. “I remember he used to play football with us at the park when we were younger in the field, because he would help walk us,” he said.

Henderson leaves behind a widow, Jakeba, and three children: Richard Jr., Lavina, and Janaya. He also had two granddaughters.