Boxing Superstar From Brooklyn Dies in City Violence

Tray Franklin, 20, had aspirations to be a pro-boxer, but his dreams were cut short when an unknown gunmen opened fire on him and his friends in Brownsville on June 28th.  His two friends survived, he didn’t.  It’s just another story of a person dying as a result of random gunfire in the city.  And PIX 11 is taking a stand to stop it and get guns off the street.

Pat Russo, a director of the Cops and Kids Boxing Program in Flatbush Gardens, Brooklyn.  It’s a free program that offers boxing training to more than 600 students across the city at three different gyms.  The motto of the program is to get teenagers to focus on athletes and school and stay off the streets.

“Tray knew he was in a vicious cycle.  He knew he had nowhere to go. He thought boxing was a quick way out,” said Russo.

He coaches said the 20 year old had potential to become a superstar.

“He had such a great future,” said his coach, Hireeo Bratro.  Bratro said Tray never wanted to leave, staying until the very end of practice each day.

But on June 28th, when practice ended at seven o’clock, Tray’s mentors said it was back to reality for the teen who lived in city housing.  And that night Tray and some friends went over to a party near his Grandmother’s house in Brooklyn.  At around 11:30, police say Tray and two friends, also in their 20’s, left the party to play dice outside on the sidewalk.  That’s when an unknown passerby walked through their game and opened fire.  Tray was struck by three bullets in the torso.  He died instantly.  His friends, one 20, the other 26, both survived.

Russo said the gym will never be the same with Tray.  But he won’t let the wannabe pro die in vain.  As an ex-cop, he’s committed more than ever to stopping the violence.

“Right now, it is safer in Afghanistan and Iraq than it is on these streets for kids in New York,” said Russo.

He said the Stop and Frisk program is essential to curbing shootings in addition to getting guns off the streets.