‘It was hard not to like Makhi’: Family, friends remember 19-year-old Hartford homicide victim

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Police continue to investigate what led up to a deadly shooting that claimed the life of a 19-year-old city resident.

Police said they found Makhi Buckly outside a home on Amherst Street around 3:45 p.m. on Monday. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Since the news of his passing, tributes have been pouring in.

RELATED: Hartford PD: Search underway for gunman that targeted 19-year-old homicide victim

“Makhi was a person that was very happy,” said Carl Hardrick, Buckly’s grandfather. “[A] people person, knew everybody.”

Hardrick, a prominent youth mentor and anti-violence activist, said his grandson left a lasting impact on everyone he met. 

“It was hard not to like Makhi,” said Hardrick.

He told News 8 Buckly was a gifted athlete who had a bright future ahead of him. He was playing football at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and had big plans to be a personal trainer.

AIC released a statement, including a tribute from the school’s interim head football coach. Kris Kulzer said:

“Makhi was a great young man who, in a short time, brought life to our program. Our hearts, prayers, and thoughts go out to his family.”

His former teammates, from Capital Prep in Hartford, said Buckly served as an inspiration for them all. They looked up to him like a brother.

“He always kept a smile on his face,” said Kadeem McKnight, Buckly’s friend and former teammate. “When I was at my lowest, he picked me up every time. He made me believe in myself.”

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin wrote in a Facebook post following Buckly’s death, “I knew Makhi, and like almost everyone in Hartford, I know and love his grandpa Carl Hardrick – who is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. To lose Makhi so senselessly is devastating, and to see Brother Carl – who has dedicated his life to saving kids and stopping violence – grieve the loss of his own grandson is especially difficult for those that know and love him. My heart breaks for Makhi’s mom and dad, for his sisters, and for his entire family. Our team will continue to support Makhi’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

Hartford Police are working to figure out what happened. Detectives could be seen on Tuesday recanvassing the neighborhood and talking with residents. Police haven’t named a suspect, but they have identified people of interest in this case.

“Their role in this has yet to be determined,” explained Lt. Aaron Boisvert, of the Hartford Police Department.

In the wake of Buckly’s death, there are calls for this violence to stop. Hardrick said it’s up to all of us – in communities everywhere – to enact this change.

“When we don’t come together and solve these issues of violence in the community, it’s a sickness,” said Hardrick. “The question is, how do we make it well? We have to do that collectively.”

Hartford Police are urging anyone with information to call their tip line at 860-722-TIPS. Tips can remain anonymous. 

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