Lit by candles and streetlights, participants shared memories of Andrew Hill at the event. Below, Hill in a selfie posted to his Facebook page last November. (Above photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
Many wore t-shirts bearing the emblem of the firehouse where he served, located just four blocks away. And everyone, it seemed, had been affected by Hill’s irrepressible positive attitude.
Candles lined the curb along Tilton Avenue where Hill was found stabbed. Below, one of his siblings, Jazsmine Hill, was among those who wore t-shirts in Hill’s memory. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
“I’m very happy, and I’m very sad at the same time. There’s not an ounce of hate in my heart,” his younger sister, Jazsmine Hill, told redbankgreen. “I have no appetite, I have no mind but his mind, which is positivity and love.
“He was so loving and so caring,” she said.
Harlen Hill Jr. said his brother, a drummer, “just had so much drive to do what would make him happy, which was volunteer service and helping people, and making music.”
Responding to a report of a stabbing at 12:43 a.m. Sunday, police arrived at the corner of Bank Street and Tilton Avenue to find Hill lying in the roadway. He was transported to Riverview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead moments later.
Police arrested 23-year-old Demar S. Reevey, also of Red Bank. Charged with homicide and weapons offenses, he remains locked up at the Monmouth County Corrections Institution in Freehold Township.
At a bail hearing Friday, Assistant Prosecutor Martha Nye alleged that Reevey left his job at Robinson Ale House a week ago intent on a confrontation with Hill over Reevey’s girlfriend, went home to get a knife, and used it to stab Hill in the chest, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.
Deputy assistant public defender Allison Friedman, however, told Superior Court Judge Paul Escandon that Reevey and Hill were friends, and that Reevey “never meant to hurt him like that,” the Press reported.
“This was not an intentional act,” she said, according to the report. “It is a very tragic set of circumstances.”
Escandon ordered Reevey held without bail until his trial, which has not been scheduled.
Harlen Hill Sr. told redbankgreen he didn’t know what Andrew had done to deserve an early death.
“My only question to the guy who did it to my son would be, ‘what did my son do to you?’ Did he rob your house? Did he burn your car up?'” Hill said. “If he didn’t do nothing to you, I don’t get it.”
“He loved everyone, period,” he said he said of Andrew. “He had that one-on-one approach. He’s going to come towards you with a smile.”
Others gathered at the corner shared memories of Hill as perhaps 100 listeners stood quietly arrayed in a circle, many bearing votive candles.
Christian Elijah told the onlookers of bonding over music with Hill.
“I definitely appreciate him for helping me to keep the beat going,” Elijah said. “I know that’s what he would want.”
A young woman recalled that Hill “always lit up a room.”
A member of the volunteer fire department for about eight years, Hill was a lieutenant at the Westside Hose Company, the firehouse he lived across the street from as a boy. He also volunteered with the department’s First Aid and Rescue Squad, and with the Sea Bright Fire Department.
He worked as a security guard at Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel.
Funeral services, including a white-glove sendoff by the fire department, have been scheduled for Tuesday morning at Calvary Baptist Church, on Bridge Avenue. Details can be found here.