2 teens fatally shot in NYC amid uptick in summertime violence

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said the solution to the shooting crisis requires cooperation between police and the communities.

    (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    A drive-by shooting at a park in Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills neighborhood late last month left two teenagers dead and another wounded.

    Kleimer Mendez, 16, was one of two teens shot in the head and killed near a basketball court on July 26, New York Times reports. 18-year-old Antonio Villa was also shot in the head and taken to Kings County Hospital where he died the following day. The third victim, a 17-year-old, was shot in the leg and is in stable condition. 

    The incident occurred on one of the deadliest days in NYC. Seven people were fatally shot on Sunday, July 26 and one was stabbed to death, the report states.

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    “We can solve our problems,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing. “We have the ability to do it, but everyone has to come to the table.”

    The mayor said the solution to the shooting crisis requires cooperation between police and the communities.

    “We know there has been an uptick in shootings in recent weeks, we know there has been a real problem with violence that must be addressed,” he said. “The best way to address it is with communities. You see all over the city, community members stepping forward, elected officials, clergy, Cure Violence movement and crisis management system, a whole host of people and organizations occupying the corners, taking back the neighborhood, making clear that violence will not be acceptable.”

    While the mayor noted that the city’s court system must fully reopen, Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea called out the broken criminal justice system.

    “It’s going to take all different parts,” he said. “It’s going to take prosecutors, courts, people participating in the system coming forward as witnesses. When you receive that summons to take part in the grand jury process. We have to get our hands around what is going on right now.”

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    Bill de Blasio Chirlane McCray theGrio.com
    BROOKLYN, NY – NOVEMBER 10: New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (R) looks on as wife Chirlane McCray speaks onstage during the “Made In NY” Awards Ceremony. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

    The city reportedly recorded 745 shootings through July 26, compared to 431 in the same time period from last year, according to the Times report. 

    “What we’re seeing is almost a perfect storm,” said Michael Sean Spence, policy and implementation director at the nonprofit group Everytown for Gun Safety. “The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of gun violence.”

    Shea noted, “Every available resource is being used to quell this gun violence,” he said. “But there’s a lot of balls up in the air that we’re balancing.”

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