Following the fatal shooting of a 10-year-old boy in Queens over the weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio voiced frustration Monday while encouraging the federal and state governments to ramp up their own efforts to confront gun violence.
“We are doing everything we can here in this city, but we need help,” de Blasio said during his daily press briefing at City Hall. “We need help from the federal government, we need help from the state government. We cannot do it alone.”
De Blasio had traveled to Far Rockaway on Sunday evening to meet with the family of the late Justin Wallace, the child who was shot and killed on June 5 inside of his home during a double shooting that also left his 29-year-old uncle with a gunshot wound to the shoulder. No arrests have been made.
“It was horrible,” de Blasio said at the June 7 briefing. “A 10-year-old child should be alive today, should be in school right now, killed by a cowardly, horrible human being who fired shots just randomly into a home.”
As the mayor vowed to bring the killer to justice, he said the city would focus on the Cure Violence effort; boost youth unemployment; send more police officers to the 100 blocks with the most shootings in the city; support the full in-person reopening of courts; and expand the ShotSpotter system, a network of sensors which detects gunshots.
The Far Rockaway shooting came during a weekend of more gun violence across the city — including one featuring a 12-year-old who survived a shooting on June 5 in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx. Shootings have increased each month for more than a year, with gun violence up 76% during May.
According to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, cops confiscated 35 illegal guns over the weekend.
De Blasio also welcomed several state lawmakers and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark to his press conference as he turned his attention to parole reform.
According to the mayor, parolees are increasingly involved in gun violence — both as victims and as alleged perpetrators — and he called on the state to boost transitional jobs and housing and increase access to healthcare and behavioral services. At the federal level, he is encouraging a divided Congress to act on gun reform.
Among other points, the mayor and others — including Clark — pushed for improvements to witness protection efforts.
“It is so difficult to get people to cooperate,” said Clark, who said her office’s own witness program has prompted “courageous Bronxites to come forward.”
“But we have to do more,” she said.
Brooklyn Assemblymember Maritza Davila, who joined the press conference, discussed legislation she proposed this month intended to bolster services and programs for people on parole. Assemblymembers Kenny Burgos and Chantel Jackson of the Bronx also joined the call to offer support for parole reform.
“The legislation will ensure that when a person is released on parole, they have a comprehensive wraparound project, or program services, that will include housing, employment, medical services or insurance, substance abuse, and mental health,” Davila said. “Providing people with these services will ensure they have a better chance at becoming successful members of society.”