Streams

In Harm's Way: Remembering the Life of Jorge Rosario

Friday, December 07, 2012

WNYC

The mother of 17-year-old Jorge Rosario has been picking through the details of her son’s life since he was gunned down on November 24 outside a party in Bushwick.

Maria Castro, 39, who nicknamed her son Jay Jay, lovingly remembered that — without fail — he would lose a sock a night.

"I used to always ask him, ‘Jay, where's your sock?’ ‘I don't know, Ma. I was sleeping, it came off,’” she recalled.

It’s why, she said, she buried her first born in a special denim outfit — and one sock.

Jorge was known as the class clown. He insisted on wearing perfectly matched outfits and topping every meal with ketchup.

As a single parent, his mother said she and her son were inseparable during his younger years. But that time were cut short when she was sent to Taconic Correctional Facility for three years when Jorge was 11 years old.

"I was selling narcotics,” Castro said, sitting at the kitchen table in her apartment not far from where he was shot. “I got busted, and I paid the consequences."

Jay Jay stayed with a close family friend until his mother was released. She said her son then began acting out. He was skipping school, she said, hanging out in the streets and fighting. Within a year, he was arrested and sent to Rikers Island.

When he was released, he became a self-confessed gang member. Castro said when he returned home from Rikers, he insisted on being called by his street name: Drama.

“I asked him, ‘Why everybody calls you Drama?’ ‘He said, ‘Ma, because I fought so much that guys just said, ‘Yo, you a drama. You drama.' So I changed my name.’"

On Wyckoff Avenue, large red plastic letters spelling out his street name were displayed on a makeshift memorial at the spot where he was gunned down. It became a gathering area for friends who stopped to pay their respects or leave a keepsake.

“I knew someday this would happen. His mom told him not to be in the streets. He didn't want to listen,” said Ariana Roman, 15, who had come to light a candle for her friend. 

But Jorge’s mother said after he was released from his second stint in jail this past October and learned his girlfriend was pregnant, he separated from gang life and was beginning to make positive changes. He was staying home, checking in with his mother and even volunteering to do chores.

She tearfully pulls out a picture of her son smiling from ear to ear running out of the freezing ocean in his boxer shorts. It was taken when he was working with a post-Sandy construction and cleanup crew in the Rockaways.

“November. Who goes in the water in Rockaway Beach?” Castro asked, rhetorically. “He did. He said, ‘I haven’t been on the beach in two years,’ and he ran."

Police are still searching for a suspect in the case.

WNYC is profiling the life of every child in the city killed by gunfire in our series In Harm’s Way.

Courtesy of Maria Castro/WNYC
Jorge Rosario as a toddler
Courtesy of Maria Castro/WNYC
Jorge, his mother Maria Castro and younger brother Reyshawn Rosario
Courtesy of Maria Castro/WNYC
A school aged Jorge posing near the Christmas tree with attitude
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
Elaborate street memorial Jorge's firends erected for him in the exact spot on Wycoff Avenue where he was shot.
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
Message written in candle wax on the sidewalk in front of the memorial.
WNYC
Mourner Stephanie Estrella who said she and Jorge were both voted class clown in junior high school
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
A monkey left on the memorial represents Jorge's sillier side.
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
Graffiti tags outside 888 Wycoff Avenue in Bushwick.
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
Items left behind on the street memorial honoring Jorge.
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
Maria Castro holds a bottle of her son's life long signature scent, Para Mi Bebe
Stan Gaz
Pallbearers carry Jorge's coffin after his funeral mass at St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church in Bushwick
Stan Gaz
Mother Maria Castro (center) surrounded by other mourners after the funeral.
Courtesy of Maria Castro
Jorge in the Yankees cap with friends at the party he attended before he was shot.
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
A tribute photograph of Jorge with his family

Editors:

Xana O'Neill

Tags:

More in:

Comments [9]

Chippy from bushwick

RIP to the realest nigga i knew .. LOVE YOU BROTHER , IMMA SEE YOU SOON
STAY FLY #DRAMALIVES RIP JAYJAY DRAMA DA BOSS

Dec. 13 2013 10:03 AM
C.J

R.I.P. MAN DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA THATS ALL YOU HEAR! WHENEVER A MAN TRIES TO MAKE A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER PEOPLE CANT STAND IT. KEEP SMILING AND WATCHING OVER EVERYONE SEE YOU SOON

Dec. 18 2012 09:03 AM
angel

listen he did jail time cuz one day a bunch of kids he had an altercation with were standing outside his mothers house and wouldnt leave so later on he did wat he had to do to protect his family

Dec. 14 2012 01:43 PM
NICOLE from BUSHWICK BROOKLYN

RIP DRAMA AKA JAY JAY AKA JORGE ROSARIO I KNEW DRAMA ONE THING I KNOW HE ALLWAYS HAD A SMILE ON HIS FACE I KNOW HE IS IN HEAVEN LOOKIN DOWN AT US SAYING "WHY YA CRYING IM GUD" BUT ITS RUFF MY HEART AND PRAYERS GO TO MY HOMEGIRL AND LONG TIME FRIEND HIS MOTHER MARIA I PRAY GOD GIVES HER THE STRENGTH TO GO THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT TIMES AND FOR THE LORD TO KEEP HER CLOSE IN HIS ARMS AND WATCH OVER HER ...AND TO THE MURDERERS I HOPE YOU ROT IN JAIL OR HELL WHICH EVER ONE COMES FIRST !!!

Dec. 08 2012 11:30 PM
Destinie

Drama sleep in peace baby boy its crazy because i feel like i was with you the other day :( and my blessings go out to you and your family drama

Dec. 08 2012 02:59 PM
Nay from Bushwick

I can say that every time he walked into my house he was very respectful. He would listen to my speech patiently about choices. The streets are tough and a great challenge for teens these days. The unfortunate thing is that he was making a positive change in his life and he didn't get to experience it long term. In life we live, learn and apply. A young man was taken not given the proper opportunity to make things right. He leaves a seed behind, so therefor DRAMA lives. I sincerely feel for Maria.

Dec. 07 2012 09:42 PM
eve

I am going to forever miss my nephew jay jay . He was born a natural charmer and we will never be whole again. We morn him and wish that no family suffer in this tragic way.

Dec. 07 2012 03:42 PM
Frank Quattrone from Upper Manhattan

What did this guy do jail time for? The answer will to this question should surely influence how we feel about this story.

Dec. 07 2012 02:52 PM
Katie Musselwhite-Goldsmith

Do your homework. No one called him "Jorge". They pronounced his name "George".

Thanks Katie. After speaking with his family and friends, I learned this boy was known by many names. Jorge/George was one of them. Kathleen Horan

Dec. 07 2012 02:37 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Sponsored

Latest Newscast

 

 

Support

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public

Feeds

Supported by