Schenectady County

Schenectady shooting victim ‘a really great guy’

Wayne L. Best Jr., 25, was killed just before 1:30 a.m. near his 1054 Parkwood Blvd. residence.
Wayne L. Best Jr.
Wayne L. Best Jr.

A man shot and killed on Parkwood Boulevard early Tuesday was remembered as a good person who could be looked up to.

Wayne L. Best Jr., 25, was killed just before 1:30 a.m. near his 1054 Parkwood Blvd. residence. No arrests were reported later Tuesday, though police released descriptions of two suspects.

The shooting left friends of Best at a loss for what happened. They described him as someone who fixed bicycles, worked as a DJ on the side and played lacrosse at Schenectady High School and in college.

“He was a really great guy,” friend Lance Armour of Schenectady said Tuesday. “He was very selfless. He always was trying to help people out. He was very family-oriented. He loved his mom, loved his brother.”

Police worked through the day Tuesday to determine who killed Best. They were called to Parkwood Boulevard for reports of several shots fired and arrived to find Best in the roadway with a gunshot wound to his upper body. He was taken to Ellis Hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead.

Police gave brief descriptions of the two suspects. One was about 5-foot-9 and was wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt, jeans and a ski mask. The second suspect was described as about 5-foot-7 and wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt, jeans and a ski mask.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 788-6566.

Police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said Tuesday he couldn’t say whether detectives believed the incident to be a random encounter or otherwise, but detectives were working hard on the case.

“There’s a lot of leads that need to be tracked down,” McCracken said. “We’ve been working on it real heavy since it occurred.”

Best’s killing is the second in the city in two weeks and the fourth this year.

Freezing rain fell at the scene throughout the morning Tuesday, coating everything in ice. Police tape surrounded one lane of Parkwood Boulevard in front of Best’s home. The tape also snaked through Christmas decorations next door. Police finished their work on-site by early afternoon.

Best was gunned down on a stretch between Union Street and Rugby Road, less than a half-mile from Schenectady High School.

Herman Seise, a friend of Best, walked past the scene in the morning cold. He said he knew Best since they attended Schenectady High. He said he never saw Best have trouble with anybody.

“He was a good kid,” Seise said.

Seise also recalled Best as someone who was good at sports. Best played lacrosse at Schenectady High and Herkimer County Community College. He made the Adirondack Region’s Empire State Games lacrosse team in the summer of 2006, before his high school senior year, newspaper records show.

He made the team after only playing two years of organized lacrosse. He moved to the varsity his sophomore year in 2005 after one day of practice, according to a Daily Gazette article at the time.

“Being my second year, I haven’t picked up as many fundamentals as the other kids, so hustle is my strength,” Best told The Daily Gazette then. “I run as hard as I can, and I’m pretty good at ground balls.”

After attending and playing at Herkimer, Best returned to Schenectady, where he was close with his family and friends.

He liked to perform as a DJ, produced music, Armour said, and had a passion for bicycling, both riding and working on them.

Armour said he learned of Best’s death through Twitter.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I was in shock.”

Another friend, Mike Denisio of Albany, recalled Best as someone who was just fun to be around. They would work on music and go out to shows, Denisio said.

He said he was privileged to have been able to spend that time with Best.

“There was never a dull moment,” Denisio said.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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