Heartbroken Bronx mother cries out for an end to gun violence after daughter’s slaying

Religious leaders hosted a vigil for Delila Vasquez who was murdered last week, where her mother cried out for justice.
Photo by Dean Moses

On a day when the country mourned the latest mass shooting in America, Cynthia Duffy of the Bronx shed tears Tuesday for her daughter, Delila Vasquez, who was shot and killed in the neighborhood a week ago.

Religious leaders, police officials, and Vasquez’s family and friends gathered at the scene of the homicide — 3339 Hull Ave. in Norwood — on March 23 for a prayer vigil to remember the 20-year-old young woman, whose life was taken far too soon. 

On March 17, Vasquez was found shot in the head inside the apartment building, just a few blocks away from her home. EMSrushed her to Jacobi Medical Center, where she succumbed to her injury. Cops have still not identified the shooter and the investigation is ongoing. 

At Tuesday’s vigil, Vasquez’s mother, Cynthia Duffy cried out in agony. Through a stream of tears she begged for anyone with information regarding her daughter’s death to come forward. 

Cynthia Duffy begged for anyone with information on her daughter’s death to come forward. Photo by Dean Moses

“It’s unfair that your own f**king friends kill you. God damnit, I didn’t deserve this. My daughter was a wonderful person. I’m an amazing mother and I was amazing to all of her friends. This is unfair,” Duffy said as she burst into tears. “I need justice, I really do! I need help, I need everybody to communicate. Everybody say what they know. I’m begging you. I don’t deserve this, I really don’t.”

Her anguish and guttural screams caught the attention of several residents, who peered out of their windows. Speakers called upon them to not let this injustice go unpunished, asking them to come forward and tell police.

Onlookers peer from their windows upon hearing Cynthia Duffy cry out in agony over her daughter’s death. Photo by Dean Moses

Vasquez is another victim of senseless gun violence that has plagued New York City, and other states such as the Colorado and Georgia mass shootings. In light of these events, religious leaders asked the gathering crowd to not only remember the young woman’s life, but also take a stand against gun violence. 

“New York City has had a great surge of gun violence in the past year. Gun violence has risen …. since last year and our city is sick and tired of what is going on. Today we are here with Ms. Duffy the mother of the late Delila Vaquez and we are standing and calling out for justice,” said Aldo Rafael Perez, a local religious leader.

Deputy Inspector Thomas J. Alps of the NYPD reached out to Duffy and ensured her that the police and community were there for her during this terrible time. He offered his condolences and then updated attendees on Vasquez’s case and the state of gun violence in Norwood.

According to Alps, last year, there were three shootings within the confines of the 52nd Precinct, however, so far in 2021 there have been seven shootings. 

“We rally together to solve this issue of gun violence. We gotta make sure that these guns do not get in the hands of individuals who are not authorized to have guns. We got to stop this violence that we are doing against each other. It’s a heartbreaking loss,” Alps said.

He noted that there have been some arrests in relation to the case, and that they are working closely with the Bronx District Attorney’s office.  

Alps anticipates that more arrests will be made and asks that if anyone has any information on what happened that night to contact the crime stoppers number 800-577-TIPS or directly contact the NYPD’s 52nd Precinct. 

Duffy held onto a stroller with her infant daughter, crying out that Vasquez leaves behind a baby sister and an 11-year-old brother. 

The ceremony culminated with family and speakers releasing balloons into the sky in memory of Delila Vasquez.

Balloons were released at the end of the vigil in memory of Delila Vasquez. Photo by Dean Moses