Family Seeks Justice For Teen Found Burned And Fatally Shot On Brooklyn Railroad Tracks

DeAndre Matthews, a Black gay teenager, was found dead on train tracks in Brooklyn, New York, and his family demands justice for what they believe was a hate crime.

February 22, 2023
Deandre Matthews, 19, pictured here, was found dead on freight train tracks in Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York on Feb. 10, 2023.

A Black gay teen was found dead on train tracks in Brooklyn, New York, and his family demand justice for what they believe is a hate crime.

Photo by: NYPD


On Feb. 7, 2023, DeAndre Matthews, a Black 19-year-old from Brooklyn, was found dead on the freight train tracks in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York. He lived and worked not far from where his body was discovered.

Danielle Matthews, the teen’s mother, reported him missing on Feb. 7, and she tracked down the SUV her son had been driving with the vehicle’s tracking function, according to ABC News. She found it parked about 10 minutes from where she lived with her son. She told News 12 that the vehicle was burnt, and there were no signs of her son.

DeAndre’s body was found nearby at around 4 p.m. that same day. He had burns throughout his body, and he had a gunshot wound to his head that killed him. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and his death was ruled a homicide, reported NBC News.

The victim’s mother and sister believe he was targeted and this was a hate crime. His sister Dajanae Gillespie told NBC New York, “He was gay. And I feel as if this could’ve been a hate crime. I want to know why [the killer] did it. What was the reason? Deandre wasn’t a violent person. This wasn’t for retaliation. He wasn’t in the streets.”

“I don’t know, but I believe it was a hate crime. Who would kill a beautiful soul like that?” Danielle asked.

DeAndre Matthews was an accomplished student who was majoring in criminal justice at the State University of New York Broome Community College in Binghamton, and he was the first one in his family to attend college. He worked hard, taking on two jobs, and he also loved spending time with his family. CBS News reported that DeAndre was known for his sense of humor, and he also enjoyed driving and playing video games.

"He was a funny kid. He was a sweet kid. DeAndre would try to find the good in everyone...and I believe that was his downfall," his mother Danielle told 12 News.

No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.

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