Community leaders in New York are calling for justice and effective solutions as gun violence around the city’s five boroughs has spiked over the past few days, including six people shot in Brooklyn in the space of one hour, and a 1-year-old boy being killed by gunfire in an apparent drive-by shooting.
On Monday evening, suspects fired on five victims on three different blocks in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood, Rodney Harrison, NYPD’s Chief of Detectives told reporters. A 23-year-old woman was shot four times in the chest by an assailant. Minutes later, three males were shot followed by another male who was shot in the back. Soon after, a a fifth person was also shot followed by the death of 1-year old Davell Gardner Jr.
The violence comes less than 24 hours after gunfire in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood killed the boy as he sat in his stroller while his family enjoyed a night out at a barbecue. Three other men were also wounded. It is unclear who was the intended target.
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Police say two men in an SUV stepped out of the vehicle and started shooting at the gathering at about 11:35 p.m. Sunday (July 12), striking the victims. Davell was rushed to a local hospital where he died a few hours later. The wounded men are all expected to recover, the New York Daily News reports. No arrests have been made.
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On Monday alone, NYPD figures reported 14 shootings with 18 victims.
“They need to stop this gun violence,” the boy’s grieving grandmother Samantha Gardner told the Daily News. “I feel like this: You all are ranting and raving about Black lives. But you take a life that was only a year and half old. And it’s not fair. It’s not fair to the grandparents. It’s not fair to the mother. It’s not fair to the father, the whole family in general.”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams called for community leaders and police to work together to put a stop to the violence.
“If you think law enforcement and police have no part to play, you are wrong in saying that,” he said, according to CBS New York. “They have a part to play, and many of us are going to do our best to make sure that part is done with equity and justice.”
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, himself a former NYPD officer, said that the department should reinstitute its Anti-Crime Unit, which was disbanded last month and sole purpose was to eliminate illegal guns from the streets.
“I don’t want to hear a conversation about a slowdown in policing because your egos are hurt. I want the same level of attention and dedication because you are sworn to serve and protect this city, not to get in political issues,” Adams said at a press conference on Monday referencing the police’s alleged slow response in retaliation to the protest outcry about police brutality.
Some Brooklyn residents, however, are critical of the activists that have been demonstrating over police violence, citing these same people are able to go to their homes and not present when violence among community members takes place.
“They march for everyone else,” one a woman near the scene of the shooting shouted, according to the Daily News. “Where they at?”
Brooklyn community activist Tony Herbert echoed that sentiment: “Right now, it’s about saving lives,” he told WABC-TV. “Throwing money to have basketball tournaments or painting damn murals on the street, that’s not going to help us.”