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‘He was the life of our family’

Community rallies around Morris family


Khaseen Morris wanted to be a rock star. He was the eccentric kid with two-toned black and red hair who listened to Lil Uzi Vert and skateboarded practically everywhere.

“Our rock star has been taken from us,” Keyanna Morris, 30, said on Sept. 18 during the Morris family’s candlelight vigil, held on the sidewalk between China King and A Day Cleaners on Brower Avenue, a half-mile from Oceanside High School, where Khaseen had been stabbed two days earlier, allegedly by a Lido Beach 18-year-old. Morris later died.

“He was the life of our family,” Keyanna said through tears.

Khaseen was the youngest of four siblings — he had two sisters, Keyanna and Kedeemah, 22, and a brother, Khaleem, 19. Khaseen would have turned 17 on Oct. 24.

He transferred this year to Ocean-side High School from Freeport High. He had just begun his senior year. On the first day of school, he posed for a photo with his nieces, Kayle and Khloe Morris, to commemorate a new chapter in the Morris family’s life — their new life in Oceanside.

“His first day of school he went with his skateboard, cheesing,” Keyanna said.

When he returned home on Day One, she said, he was overjoyed and enthralled with new friends he had made. In his 10 days as a student at OHS, Khaseen met and made friends with more people than he ever had before, his family said. According to Keyanna, they were all happy to see him happy.

“Khaseen felt like he could finally be himself,” she said.

“He stood out,” Khaleem said. “He was an inspiration. He was the one that would brighten up your day, even if you were having a bad day.”

When he came home, he left his skateboard at the door and played with his 2-year-old nephew, Karter Morris. Despite the move to Oceanside, Khaseen kept in contact with his best friends from Freeport. He was the happiest that he had ever been, Keyanna said.

“Everyone loved him in Freeport, but he couldn’t be himself without judgment,” she said. “He was a skateboarder and had colorful hair, and everyone just looked at him like, ‘Oh, OK.’”

Khaseen had planned to dye his hair purple and black, Keyanna said. “That’s just how he was and how he expressed himself,” she said.

According to Keyanna, Khaseen reveled in being different and didn’t quite want to fit in. He never followed a particular opinion, philosophy or trend — which was reflected in his fashion sense and wide-ranging music collection. “He listened to everything, but he knew every single Uzi song word for word,” she said.

When he wasn’t skateboarding, he hung out with friends from East Rockaway, Freeport and other parts of Long Island. He liked to draw and had ambitions of pursuing photography. He loved watching anime with his siblings. According to Kedeema, he had all of the Dr. Stone books, a Japanese manga series, and had just started watching the show. “He didn’t get a chance to finish it,” she said.

On Sept. 18, hundreds of Oceanside, Freeport, East Rockaway and Long Beach families gathered on the sidewalk between China King and A Day Cleaners, the site where he was killed, to pay their respects to Khaseen and his family. Students presented the family with pictures they drew of Khaseen or posters they made to remember him.

Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School left a red sign that read, “Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School loves you and remembers you Khaseen.” The sidewalk was also covered in colorful chalk, with messages of love and quotes from members of the community. A white cross bearing Khaseen’s name and a black marker were passed around, and friends, family members and vigil attendees left “love messages” for Khaseen and his family.

Last Friday, during the Freeport High School football game against Massapequa High School, there was a pregame moment of silence to honor him. All of the Freeport players had white “E4K”— “Everything 4 Khaseen” — letters taped to their helmets.

His funeral will be held at Towers Funeral Home, 2681 S. Long Beach Road in Oceanside, on Saturday at 10 a.m.

“We were four puzzle pieces that go together,” Kedeemah said, crying.

In addition to his three siblings and nieces and nephew, Khaseen is survived by his parents, Annmarie and Bryan Morris. They declined to comment.