Prospect Moved Here to Escape "War Zone" in Baltimore, Returned to Become a Casualty

Two years ago, John Crowder was playing basketball for God's Academy in Grand Prairie and considered one of the top talents in Dallas-Fort Worth. He was 15. Crowder came to the area to escape life in his native Baltimore, where, he says in a 2008 video on The Dallas Morning News's Web site, life was "rough"; his neighborhood in East Baltimore, he said, was full of "bad activities," meaning drug deals and murder. He got in trouble himself, more than once. And so he moved in with God's Academy coach and Grand Prairie resident Tim Miller, who told Barry Horn, "We take in troubled kids and straighten them out."

At the time, Crowder -- who, growing up parentless in Baltimore, had several run-ins with the law and saw his best friend murdered -- said he hoped to stay in Dallas, bring his grandmother here and, one day, play for the NBA. But, instead, he wound up moving back to Baltimore and playing for Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School, where he was, yet again, a highly coveted prospect.

But no more: The Baltimore Sun and WJZ-TV in Baltimore report that Crowder was found bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds in a Northwest Baltimore yard early Monday morning. Said Crowder's cousin to The Sun, "He was attracted to the streets." Hours later, he died at Johns Hopkins Hospital.