THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — Nicole Wynaar moved her two sons 60 miles north of the Bronx to Derby, Connecticut, in the spring of 2021. But her oldest son, Hednick, had a difficult time adjusting to the quiet. He spent the last few days of his life staying at a friend’s house near his old neighborhood.
“I told him, ‘I’m coming to the Bronx for my doctor’s appointment and you’re coming home,'” the mother, Nicole Wynaar, recalled recently. “He said, ‘Ok, mom.'”
Hednick Wynaar, just 22 years old, never made it back to Connecticut.
“The police called me at 5:07 a.m.” the mother told PIX11 News about the notification she received on Oct. 31, 2021.
It was Halloween Day. The mother was told she needed to get to Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx quickly.
“He was brain dead,” Nicole Wynaar recounted through tears. “I begged him, ‘Come back!’ I begged him not to leave me.”
The young man’s organs were donated to save other lives and Hednick’s mother struggled to go on with her life.
Her son was riding on a scooter with an 18-year-old friend about 12:50 a.m. on Halloween 2021 when a grey Honda sedan cruised by on Adee Avenue near Colden Avenue.
Four gunmen are seen on surveillance getting out of the car and opening fire. Hedrick Wynaar was hit in the head as he ran for cover.
Sandra Henriques was walking her dog with her small grandson at the time.
“I saw the car going by,” Henriques recalled, “and then they started shooting. That’s when I ran with my grandson.”
Henriques was grazed in the buttocks, and she distinctly remembers Hednick Wynaar.
“The guy that got hurt, he was right behind me,” Henriques said. “He dropped right behind me by my foot. I said, ‘Are you alright?’ and he didn’t answer. But I saw the blood.”
Early reports after the shooting speculated that it was gang-related. But investigators recently told PIX11 News they didn’t think Wynaar was in a gang.
Investigators are still looking at the possibility that his scooter friend knew something about another shooting that night.
“I don’t have no experience with gang people,” Nicole Wynaar said. “I oppose a lifestyle like that. You don’t get anywhere being on the street.”
Nicole Wynaar and her children were born in Suriname in South America and later emigrated to New York.
Wynaar said her son wanted to study culinary arts at college and follow in her footsteps as a chef.
Mayla Rodiguez, one of Wynaar’s old friends from the Morrisania section of the Bronx, said the slain man was into music.
“He was a rapper and a singer,” Rodriguez said. “He was really good.”
A mural was unveiled on the corner of Hennessy Place, the street where Wynaar used to live, on the first anniversary of his death.
“He was unique. He was his own person,” friend Jhuan Ayala said. “His flow was amazing.”
Nicole Wynaar remembered that she used to be the “mom” of Hennessy Place for so many children, as Hednick and his younger brother spent years playing chess after school, winning many trophies along the way.
“I was a chess mom for eight years,” Nicole Wynaar said.
The mother was even honored by former Mayor Bill de Blasio for her community work.
Now, her son’s awards sit on a bureau in his pristine basement apartment, which seems suspended in time.
“All I’m asking is ‘Please, help me,” the mother said about the unsolved case. “What makes someone wake up and decide ‘I’m going to kill someone?'”
The mother is now offering $10,000 of her own money for information that leads to an arrest in her son’s murder.
She doesn’t want Hednick Wynaar to be one of the forgotten.