Dad Dies of Broken Heart After Son Fatally Shot, Family Says

August 12, 2017 Updated: August 12, 2017

A father in New York City has died from what his family called a broken heart following the fatal shooting of his son.

Duro Akil was shot in the chest on Monday night, Aug. 7, and rushed to Jacobi Medical Center with a punctured lung.

When the family learned that Akil had died on Wednesday, they returned home to find Akil’s father, Okera Ras I, lifeless in bed.

The hospital determined that the dad had died of a heart attack. He was so close to his son that the family believes Ras I died of heartbreak, ABC News reported.

“It was really too much for him,” his daughter, Makini Akil said. “It was really like heartbreak.”

“They loved each other so much and they had each others’ back,” said Adio Akil, Akil’s mother.

“Yeah they were very close. Very close. Like most of the pictures we have they’re standing together,” said Rod Ivey, Ras I’s brother.

Duro Akil (GOFUNDME)
Duro Akil (GOFUNDME)

The tragic story began on Monday night when Akil’s upstairs neighbor forced an unwanted visitor out of his two-story brick building on East 219th Street near White Plains Road in the Williamsbridge neighborhood in the Bronx, Daily News reported.

The ejected man went to his car, retrieved a gun, returned to the building and began banging on the door. He used the pistol’s handle to break a windowpane on top of the door.

Akil, his father, and his brother went to the door when they heard the commotion, unaware that the man outside was armed and angry. Before they opened the door the man fired a shot, striking Akil in the chest.

The shooter then ran to his car and drove off. Police have identified the man but were still looking for him on Friday.

“The way this happened, it’s stupid,” said Daquan Johnson, 27, the brother of the neighbor who forced the shooter out of the building. “It was ego. That’s all it was.”

Akil, 34, was the father of two and the oldest of five siblings. He graduated Beacon High School and had a passion for journalism and sports. He was a delivery worker for Fresh Direct.

Ras I, 54, earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta and a master’s degree in communications from New York University. He used to work for Fox, but recently resigned to pursue entrepreneurial projects.

When the family returned to tell Ras I of Akil’s passing, they found him lifeless in bed.

“We were in the middle of the street screaming. In shock,” said Makini Akil. “It was like something out of a movie scene.”

“It’s a lot. It’s a lot to lose two people at once and two people beautiful people,” Adio Akil, Akil’s mother said.

“I’m angry, I’m sad. For the culprit who took my son away and caused his father to leave I’m angry, I’m also sad for him. I feel sorry for him because when you do what he did there’s a price to pay.”

Ras I DJed events in the community and organized a monthly healing retreat.

“There are so many people who can speak to how giving and well-liked he was,” Adio Akil, said.



Father Builds $51 Million Theme Park for Daughter With Disabilities

L: Gordon Hartman with his daughter Morgan; R: Entrance of the Morgan's Wonderland theme park. (Morgan's Wonderland)
L: Gordon Hartman with his daughter Morgan; R: Entrance of the Morgan’s Wonderland theme park. (Morgan’s Wonderland)

By Petr Svab
Epoch Times Staff

Back around 2007, Gordon Hartman was watching his daughter, Morgan, playing in a pool.

She was 18, but with the mental capacity of a 5-year-old due to disabilities. She wanted to play ball with children in the pool, but they didn’t know how to talk to her and just left.

Morgan Hartman. (Morgan's Wonderland)
Morgan Hartman. (Morgan’s Wonderland)

That got Hartman thinking. It had been some time since he had sold his real estate development business and was figuring out what to do with the second half of his life. He decided to create an environment that could dissolve the barrier between people with and without disabilities.

And so he created the world’s first “ultra-accessible” theme park—Morgan’s Wonderland. The park is in San Antonio, Texas.

To be sure, at the beginning, he had no idea how to create such a place. And so he asked others with ideas, like therapists, teachers, and people with disabilities.

The top concern on the list was safety. But not just the safety of the actual rides. Children with autism, for example, are often a flight risk. That’s why the park offers GPS trackers that show visitors the locations of other people in their party.

Of course, the park’s 26 attractions including swings, a Ferris wheel and a train are accessible to people with a range of disabilities. It also includes a carousel adapted for use with a wheelchair.

(Morgan's Wonderland)
(Morgan’s Wonderland)

However, the biggest asset is the atmosphere of the park. The majority of visitors actually don’t have any disabilities. But both the visitors and the staff know the point of the park.

“It’s about everybody being able to play together,” Hartman said.

Unusual requests are not just tolerated, but expected.

“Everybody is patient,” he said. “You can ride the train seven times if you want to. We have some children who just stay on the train the whole time. That’s what they want. That consistency is what they like. At another place, could they do that?”

He also keeps the park under capacity to prevent crowds, which could be, for example, an insurmountable obstacle for those with autism.

Earlier this year, Hartman extended the 25-acre theme park to include a 3-acre splash park called Morgan’s Inspiration Island. Besides being barrier-free, it even provides waterproof wheelchairs for children who may never have had a opportunity to play in water before.

(Morgan's Wonderland)
(Morgan’s Wonderland)

Hartman runs the parks as a nonprofit. Anybody with special needs gets in for free—no assurances necessary.

“If you say you have special needs when you come to the front, you get in for free,” he said. “We figure if you lie about it, you have a special need.”

For others, a full-access day pass costs $21-$27. The parks run at a loss, but continue thanks to donations.

Since it’s opening in 2010, it has attracted over a million visitors from all states and more than 60 countries.