By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
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By Michelle LeBow
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By CP Staff
If she pushed him too far for answers, he would snap at her. "I can't talk to you," he would say. "You were brought up in a different world. You don't understand the way I was brought up." But more often, his problems simply would not come up at home.
Outside of Nancy's house, Henry Moormann's gangster aspirations were escalating. He was spending more money than he made at his job stocking shelves at Cub Foods. He came home with new Polo clothes all the time and amassed an enormous number of shoes. "It did his ego an enormous amount of good to dress well," Nancy says.
He was also, according to the MPD's Johnson, one of a handful of 2-1 kids who the police continued to watch after last summer's controversy died down. After the days of zero tolerance, the MPD had taken a more hands-off approach to policing the 2-1 kids. They had broken up the gang with its graffiti, hand signs, and jerseys, but were--and still are--watching a number of troublemakers. "We know that there are people continuing in criminal ways," says Johnson. "They were committing the crimes before there was a gang, when there was a gang, and they're continuing to. We're aware of it, and we're after it." Johnson says the MPD is still tracking a number of underage drinkers and kids who cops believe are carrying guns or dealing drugs--including, Johnson alleges, kids who were "peripherally involved" in the deal that resulted in Moormann's death.
Before his death, Moormann was also a known quantity to Richfield's Lt. Mork. "Narcotics activity for Moormann appeared to be a way of making money," he says. "He was armed. He was in it for the risks. He was in it for what he knew it was--a dangerous activity."
But if Henry Moormann the drug dealer was on a collision course, he managed for a time to hide it from his mom. She says Henry was a master at keeping his two worlds separate. "Henry was not in my face. He could maintain this wonderful, civil approach to being my son and living in my house. He always said the right thing to me, and being a mom, I believed what I wanted to hear."
To some of his friends, however, he admitted that both the cheery disposition he showed Nancy Moormann and the tough-guy act he used on his homies were nothing more than fronts. "Honestly, deep down inside his heart," says his friend Moy, "I've heard him say this, that he was born and put on this planet to be a piece of shit, to be a nobody, to be punked by people who are better than him, to be disrespected. I don't think he cared about his life whatsoever, except for his mom and his sister."
Just before Christmas, Nancy Moormann reached the end of her rope. Henry was coming and going at all hours of the night. She was seeing less of her congenial boy and more "attitude." Then one day she found a rifle in his room in the basement. "Guns are not a part of my life," she told him. Henry was terrified of being thrown out of the house. Whenever things had gotten too tense between him and his mom, he'd always made her promise not to kick him out. "I'd never throw you out," she would tell him. "I adore you. I love to have you here."
But finding the gun was the last straw. "I said, 'Take a break. You're going to have to go live somewhere else for a while.'" Henry moved into the Lakeland Motel in St. Louis Park.
Ten days later he was ready to apologize. On a sheet of note paper, Nancy Moormann wrote up a contract: no guns, no drugs, keep your room clean. If he went on to school at a community college, she would pay for it. In the meantime, he had to work and pay rent. On November 1, Henry signed the contract and moved back in.
Two months later he was dead.
Nancy Moormann has spent the long days and nights since her son's death picking over the pieces of their life together, as if comprehension could mitigate loss. "I don't know what I would have done much differently," she muses. "I suppose I could have put my foot down harder, louder, stronger. I don't know. He was the type of kid who could work around things like that. He always had a job. I insisted that he had to have a job, or a sport, or an after-school activity. He always chose the job. I suppose so there would always be a reason to have that much money.
"I was trying, but on the other hand there was a little bit of out of sight, out of mind. He didn't bring the drug-dealing under my nose, and therefore I could ignore it. I know I'm articulate. I know I'm responsive as a parent. I've always been that way. I knew what was happening, but I didn't know. I was so busy trying to make something right that I missed the thing."