The start of National Gun Violence Awareness Month did not halt shootings around New York City as at least 19 people were injured or killed by firearms this past weekend. Just a few days earlier, Mayor Eric Adams announced the formation of a task force to prevent such tragedies.

“It’s not a big city problem, it’s an America problem,” said Adams at the press conference. “The proliferation of guns that are impacting our communities and the rise of radicalization…and so today I am announcing a new task force to formalize my Executive Order 19, it will be co-chaired by A.T. Mitchell.”

The founder of the East New York community organization Man Up!, Andre T. Mitchell will serve as Adams’ new “gun violence czar.” Joining him will be Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, who will serve as co-chair on the task force. Their work will be with prevention—stopping the shootings before the guns are picked up. That means job programs, youth sports and generally anything to keep at-risk youngsters busy during the hot summer months when gun violence rates tend to spike.

Mayor Eric Adams testifies before the Reform Committee on gun violence in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

“There’s nobody that wants gun violence to end more than the young people who come from the neighborhoods and the people who live in this community every single day,” said Mitchell during his appointment. “And so this is a community-driven approach. When you hear about the state or the feds and now the city, now include the community.”

But Mitchell, Wright and the rest of the task-force have their work cut out for them. On Saturday, three gun-related incidents across three different boroughs occurred, all before the sun came up.

At around midnight, a 25-year-old man was shot in the Bronx after a dispute. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries. In Manhattan, three people were shot on West 129th in Harlem on Saturday. The victims are in stable condition, according to police. On the same morning, a man was shot and killed in Brooklyn: 34-year-old Bronx native Terry Webb was found unresponsive on the Cypress Hills intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Miller Avenue, later dying at Brookdale Hospital. Police are investigating all three shootings and no arrests have been made.

Credit: Bill Moore photo

On Sunday, two people were shot on the sidewalk in Hamilton Heights, on the intersection of West 145th and Amsterdam. The victims’ conditions are not known yet. And the weekend ended tragically with another fatal shooting. Twenty-one-year-old Brooklyn native Tyda Darden was shot and killed outside of a recording studio in Queens on the Ridgewood intersection of Summerfield. The victim and his girlfriend were expecting a child.

Tandy Lau is a Report for America corps member and writes about public safety for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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