It is becoming an unfortunate and ugly trend. It is Gun Violence Awareness Month, but, once again, as school lets out and summer officially begins, violence is plaguing the city. Last weekend the NYPD reported 13 shootings, including one in Brooklyn that could leave a boy paralyzed.
Determined to confront the violence, the community continues their support and prayers for 11-year-old Jayden Grant, who at press time Wednesday afternoon, remains in the hospital, recovering from a shooting that occurred last the evening of June 21 in Crown Heights.
Grant’s family says he was getting a haircut for his graduation ceremony from the fifth grade the next day when he was shot in the shoulder by a gunman who opened fire at Schenectady Avenue near Lincoln Place. A 31-year-old man was also reportedly shot in his knee and is also in the hospital in critical condition.
Neither Grant nor the other man were the intended targets.
“I heard about five shots, and then I saw a guy running down the block,” a man driving in the area said. “It’s crazy out here, because it was broad daylight.”
Doctors say Grant will recover but could face a lifetime of health challenges, including the possibility of being paralyzed from the waist down. His family has set up a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise $100,000 for his medical bills. As of Wednesday afternoon, over $42,000 was raised.
“He asked me why he can’t feel his legs. I said, ‘You will. Think positively, you will.’ We are going to do a lot of rehab,” Grant’s grandmother Bessie Watson-Grant said in a televised interview.
“As he faces a long and challenging recovery ahead, we want to come together as a school community to support him and his family with whatever they need,” Grant’s family said in a message on the GoFundMe page.
More than 800 people have donated to the fund with donations ranging from as little as $5 to as large as $500.
“These guys are shooting like it’s the wild wild west out here,” Derek Perkinson, with the National Action Network, said this week at a rally in Brooklyn.
Police arrested Angel Eaddy, 27, who was seen on surveillance video and named the alleged suspect. He is reportedly being charged with two counts of attempted murder after injuring two innocent bystanders and is being held on $500,000 bail.
“We can’t let incidents like this go unchecked and we can’t let shooters believe that they can do this with impunity,” NYPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said during a press conference.
The shooting is one of several that have occurred in the city in recent days kicking summer off to a bloody start. A Harlem shooting on Monday left one man dead after he was shot in the neck after an argument at a deli on Lenox Avenue near
On Tuesday, June 25, activists and elected officials made a show of force “occupying” the very same northwest corner, the scene of Monday’s gun slaying of Leroy Phinazee, 29, inside of Funfair Deli. No arrests have been made.
A press conference was held at the crime scene led by Iesha Sekou of the Street Corner Resources Speak Peace Forward Cure Violence Team. Several elected officials were on hand, including Sen. Brian Benjamin and Assemblymember Al Taylor along with members of Manhattan Community Board 10, the NAACP and the National Action Network.
“SCR engaged and comforted the family at the trauma unit, while simultaneously providing supportive services to community members along Lenox Avenue from 137th to 141st Street,” Sekou said. “Once it was confirmed that the victim had expired, the family was moved to Mother Zion Church on 140th between Lenox and 7th Avenue for fellowship and comfort. The Street Corner Resources Speak Peace Forward Team will continue to provide the family and community with support and encourage the community to stay away from violence and retaliation.”
Sekou emphasized the effectiveness of community-based cure violence organizations such as the one she runs. “Our catchment area is from 137th to 145th street between Lenox and 7th Avenue. In the last 20 years this zone was notorious for the level of gun violence. We need to make it clear that despite this tragedy, this community has turned around the prior condition of violence.”
Sekou continued, “To be specific, until this…we had a successful run of 1,094 days straight without a homicide, and 37 days without a shooting. We regret this tragedy. We are responding to this tragedy. But we will NOT return to the tragic days of old. We refuse!”