Community members and elected officials once again held space to mourn the loss of life and senseless violence surrounding another mass shooting.
New Yorkers came together on Monday evening in an attempt to make sense of a Father’s Day massacre that left a promising young basketball star dead and eight others injured. Convening at 139th Street and 5th Avenue where droves of Harlemites were sent stampeding away after gunfire rang out during a late-night barbecue, those mourning the aftermath are asking why it had to happen?
“This is a local problem; this is a national problem. This weekend the level of carnage in this country is almost beyond belief,” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said at the gathering. “We must once and for all invest in the programs that we know allow kids to stay off the path from picking up a handgun in the first place.”
The somber assembly held by Street Corner Resources – a community-based service organization located in Harlem – and Release The Grip Stop The Violence Shooting Response strove to lament the loss of 21-year-old Darius Lee who was gunned down during the mayhem while also pushing for meaningful solutions to end the bullet storm plaguing both New York City and the country at large.
The exact events which sparked the shooting are currently unknown, yet police sources say they are speculating that the firefight is gang-related. It is due to the seemingly unending bombardment of gunfire that plagues the city on a nightly basis, many are calling for significant prevention to be undertaken in hopes of stopping youth from picking up firearms in the first place, including investments in job training, after-school programs, and cure violence programs.
“I am tired of going from press conference to funeral,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said. “Let’s be clear: we want our law enforcement partners to do their job with transparency and accountability, these communities deserve to have that service, what’s missing is every damn thing else. These folks are fighting for eight-hour shifts when this violence is happening 24 hours a day. If there is an agency that can get unlimited overtime, where is the money for everybody else – that is all we are asking.”
Although Darius Lee was not believed to be the intended target of the shooting, a promising future was cut short. Lee was remembered as not only a star athlete but also a role model.
The investigation into the mass shooting is ongoing and no arrests have been made.