Anti-gun violence rally in Queens after pair of deadly shootings

WOODSIDE, Queens (WABC) -- Officials in Queens held a press conference Thursday calling for the urgent need to address a recent surge in gun violence across the borough.

Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. hosted the event at 50-51 Broadway outside the Woodside Houses Management Office, near where two people were shot to death in separate incidents within the last 12 days.

On March 12, Gudelia Vallinas, a 37-year-old mother of two, was an innocent bystander near 48th Street and Broadway when she was fatally struck by a bullet fired from an unidentified gunman involved in a dispute that began nearby at Woodside Houses.

Her husband, Alfred Vallinas, spoke at the rally.

"I used to do everything with her," he said. "We used to be a team. And now, on that March 12, 2021, they did not only kill a wife and a mother, a friend, they also killed me too. Because now, when I walk the streets, I know that I'm not going to see her again. And that pain will never go away. I will have to live that forever."

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He pleaded for an end to the violence.

"Today, it was my family, it was the Vallinas family," he said. "It was Gudelia. But tomorrow, it could be yours...I just want the streets to be safe again, which we shouldn't be living like this, shootings, all the time. People losing people at the time. Just for senseless things."

Then, Wednesday afternoon, 29-year-old Elliot Clairborne was gunned downed outside of a Woodside Houses building at 31-69 49th Street.
Richards and community leaders pleaded with members of the public to provide any information they may have that could help bring the perpetrators of these recent fatal shootings to justice.

They also expressed support for the Cure Violence movement and efforts by the city and community organizations to use crisis management principles to help prevent gun violence.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the expansion of the Cure Violence initiative, which views crime as a public health issue.

It is made up of mostly young adults from the community, trained to intervene and disrupt violence before it happens.

No arrests have been made in either of the shootings, and anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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