Unlikely end for aspiring rapper
Amtrak train killed artist 'KDoe' as he attempted to cross the railroad tracks
By Jason Sweeney, STAFF WRITER
Article Created: 02/25/2008 02:39:17 AM PST
SAN LEANDRO — It was a tragic and unlikely end for an aspiring Bay Area rap artist. Kenneth Poynter, 27, also known as KDoe, had just finished talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone when he was struck and killed by an Amtrak train at about 8 p.m. Feb. 7, while walking on Hesperian Boulevard.
According to Poynter's best friend and music partner, D. Labri, 29, of Oakland, Poynter was an Oakland rapper who was deeply involved in trying to make his community a better place.
"He was out there preaching this message of positivity and stopping the violence, and dealing with all these issues that we deal with in the inner city," Labri said.
Labri said Poynter was the Oakland representative for the Worldwide Hip Hop Congress, an organization that attempts to use hip-hop to inspire young people to get involved in social action, civic service and cultural creativity.
On Feb. 7, Poynter was walking on Hesperian when witnesses saw him duck under the railroad crossing arms at Springlake Drive, apparently oblivious to the Amtrak train barreling toward him at 76 mph.
Poynter was killed not far from where his girlfriend, Delina Pham, 22, lives. According to Pham, Poynter was often in the area visiting her or hanging out at the nearby Rasputin Music store on Hesperian, where he sold his CDs.
It is unclear why Poynter ignored the crossing guard arms, but police found his iPod and headphones at the scene.
Labri said Poynter may have had his sweatshirt hood up and his headphones on and had not heard or seen the train in the dark. However, Labri said Poynter had called several friends on his cell phone right before he was killed. Pham said the headphones and iPod were returned to Poynter's mother undamaged, so she doesn't think he was wearing the headphones.
"He called at about 8 p.m. and asked if I could come pick him up," Pham said. But Pham, who is Vietnamese, told him she couldn't pick him up, because she was celebrating Chinese New Year with her family.
He said, "Bye," and that was the last time she spoke to him.
According to Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham, train-versus-pedestrian fatalities are often suicides, or occur when people are not paying attention or are trying to beat the train.
Poynter is the fourth pedestrian killed by a train on the Capitol Corridor in San Leandro since the fall. A service was held for him Feb. 15 at the Thompson Funeral Home in Oakland.
Poynter worked at 8 Peaks Worley's medical supplies on Lewelling Boulevard in San Leandro until about a year ago, when he decided to pursue music full-time. He was planning to release an album this year, according to Labri.
Labri, who has his own record company, RonDavoux Records, said he plans to release Poynter's album in May.
"He was always ready to work toward achieving his dream," Labri said. "I considered him a brother and definitely a best friend."
"He was a very spiritual, humble, kind-hearted man," Pham said. "He was very funny and fun to be with. He was quiet, but he was always rapping."