Following the announcement of the unsealing of a federal indictment charging gang members for their roles in the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Shamoya McKenzie in Mount Vernon, Mayor Richard Thomas announced the city would host a celebration of her life.
Federal prosecutors announced the indictment of 12 members of the “Goonies” street gang on Thursday, who are facing charges that range from murder and drug trafficking to weapons offenses and racketeering.
Four gang members - including alleged shooter David Hardy - were among those indicted in connection to the New Year’s Eve shooting of McKenzie last year.
Thomas announced that the city would host a “Celebration of Life of Shamoya McKenzie” next weekend, including several events at city churches. There will be a prayer at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 30, on East Third Street, where the teenager was fatally shot. There will then be a service hosted from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Macedonia Baptist Church. The following day, there will be a second prayer beginning at 11 a.m. at the Bronxwood International Church of God on Lurting Avenue in the Bronx.
McKenzie was a passenger in her mother's car at approximately 2:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve last year, when she was struck in the head by a stray bullet that was allegedly intended for another man involved in gang activity. McKenzie was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A second victim was also struck in the shooting, suffering non-life threatening injuries.
A star for both the Mount Vernon Junior Knights, Lady Elites and the High School JV Lady Knights, McKenzie had dreams of attending the University of Connecticut to play under coach Geno Auriemma before making her way to the WNBA.
Thomas said that Hardy was a seasonal employee for the city, and his position was terminated in December after he failed to show up for his assignment. He was hired by a former administrator, who is no longer working for the city.
“The loss of Shamoya McKenzie broke our hearts and strengthened our resolve to clear our community of illegal guns, drugs, and the despair they bring," Thomas said in a statement. "Our partnerships with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State of New York, and a diverse coalition of law enforcement organizations has bolstered Mount Vernon’s ability to strike back at evil acts and holding the individuals responsible accountable for their cowardly actions.
"We have come a long way as a city since Shamoya’s loss and we will always carry her memory and promise with us as we work to never, ever, witness something like this happening again. Our hearts remain with Shamoya’s mother, Nadene, and the entire McKenzie family. Their pain and sacrifice can never be fully known, but it will always be felt for years to come. We pray for their strength, solace, and fortitude as we journey with them forward.”
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