Earlier this summer Kenis Green Jr. covered his cousins with toothpaste and powder and his mother in syrup while they were asleep. They had been goofing around that day, throwing water on each other. “He told me he was going to get me when I was asleep,” his mother, Sunsearae Hall, told MSNBC. And that he did. The 12-year-old child was “definitely a prankster,” she said.
Influenced by his cousins, Kenis played in the Detroit Lions Summer Youth Football Program beginning when he was 5. He switched to the Detroit Dolphins Junior Midgets this year and played as a linebacker. “He loved when they won…and just loved being around other young boys. He loved to be around people,” Hall said. Kenis was excited to start school with his cousin on Sept. 3. They were both set to enter the eighth grade at University YES Academy in Kenis’ hometown of Detroit, Mich. As his cousins were role models to him, Kenis was the protective older brother to his three younger siblings. He often made them eggs, bacon, or pancakes for breakfast, a skill he learned from a school cooking class. He also cared for his parents. He recently visited a local MetroPCS store to lower his cell phone usage with the goal of saving money on his father’s bill.
The child in him came out when he watched Drake & Josh or The Boy Who Cried Werewolf on TV. He enjoyed listening to Justin Bieber and Wiz Khalifa. He even dyed the tip of his hair blonde last year to resemble the hip-hop artist. Kenis loved wearing red and black, and he always adorned himself in a long-sleeved buttoned-up shirt–even in the summer–with shorts or skinny jeans. “All he did was smile, all the time,” his uncle, Willie Hall, told MSNBC. “You never saw him upset.”
Kenis was shot and killed on Aug. 31 after being caught in the crossfire of an adult argument while standing on the porch of a Detroit residence where he was attending his uncle’s birthday party. His mother’s boyfriend was also shot and wounded during the incident. An arrest has been made.