Mzimazisi Ncube, who lived in the 300 block of Burke Ave., was struck about 10:30 p.m. by a 2007-2019 Toyota Tundra pick-up or Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicle while crossing North Charles Street south of Ruxton Ridge Road, police said.
The driver sped off as Ncube was knocked to the ground and struck by a second vehicle, a Mercedes, whose driver stopped and called 911, police said. The 20-year-old was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“As a family we are deeply saddened by the death of Mzimazisi Ncube, beloved son of Allan and Ollie, and brother to Zolani, Ziphe, Nomazwe and Zandile,” Ncube’s family said in an emailed statement.
“Mzi was known for his charisma, infectious sense of humor, caring attitude and affable smile,” the family said.
A candlelight vigil planned by Towson University students is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Speakers Circle near Freedom Square in the middle of the campus.
Ncube, a 2016 graduate of Gaithersburg High School, seemed to smile perpetually, friends said. He played basketball and soccer and volunteered at Brothers, a mentoring program for minority males in Montgomery County with 300 active members and 3,850 alumni.
Ncube demonstrated leadership during four years in Brothers, particularly in his senior year of high school, on an occasion when the group handed out food to the homeless at St. Martin’s Church in Gaithersburg, said Morris H. Hudson, who founded the program.
Some of the recipients were impatient for the food and scared some of the teenagers, Hudson said.
Ncube rallied the troops. If they were uncomfortable, he said, they ought to imagine what people experiencing homelessness go through on a daily basis.
“We’re suffering for a day,” he told his fellow high-schoolers, according to Hudson. “These guys are suffering every day.”
Hudson called Ncube “a model kid” who touched everybody that saw him and smiled in the face of adversity. With a good support system of family and friends, he didn’t require much additional mentoring from the program, he said.
“I think he just came for the camaraderie,” Hudson said. “He certainly didn’t need the program; the program needed him.”
The mentoring program, which has been in operation for 34 years, is tight-knit and members have been mourning Ncube’s death, he said.
“Brothers is a family,” Hudson said. “We lost one of ours.”
A group of about 50 friends held a tearful candlelight vigil outside Ncube’s family’s home in Gaithersburg on Sunday night, said Brandon Hackey, a friend from elementary, middle and high school.
Ncube was a bright kid who always had an uplifting joke or funny comment in a time of need, said Hackey, 21, a concrete technician who attends Frederick Community College.
“His laugh made you laugh, and his smile made you smile,” he said. “He really did deserve all the love he got. He touched the lives of so many people.”
Ncube, Hackey and Junior Armooh, 20, grew up together and spent countless hours playing sports and hanging out in their neighborhood, off East Village Avenue, the friends said.
Armooh and Ncube both went to West Virginia University after graduating from Gaithersburg High, but Ncube transferred to Towson after freshman year for in-state tuition, said Armooh, 20, a junior sport and exercise psychology major at WVU.
Ncube was a sophomore pre-accounting student at Towson, according to university spokesman Sean Welsh.
He was artistic and had saved up to buy a new camera in the spring, Armooh said. While he spent the summer telling his friends and family to “flick me up,” or take his picture, Ncube would usually be the one holding the camera.
The two friends lived on the same floor freshman year at West Virginia, loved Donald Glover’s television show “Atlanta” on FX, and dreamed of one day moving to Los Angeles. After Armooh got rich, the plan went, he would buy a giant Beverly Hills-style home, where Ncube would live with him and his family as his in-home accountant, and they would create their own TV show.
Armooh said he would never forget his friend’s constant positivity.
“We can’t be not laughing for more than five minutes,” he said. “He was always happy and smiling.”
At Towson, Ncube continued his volunteer mentoring in the Center for Student Diversity and was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.
“The Towson University community grieves with the family and loved ones of Mzimazisi Ncube and we mourn this tragic loss of young life,” the university said in a tweet. “We urge the surrounding community to assist Baltimore County Police in their investigation of this horrific accident.”
Police are searching for the driver of the truck, whose driver’s side mirror had the glass broken out and the mirror cover missing, police said. The vehicle may also have damage to the front on the driver’s side, police said.
Anyone who sees a Toyota Tundra or a Toyota Sequoia in the area with that type of damage is asked to call police at 410-307-2020 or 911. The Baltimore County Crash Investigation Team is investigating the incident.