In one instance, the gunman was 13 years old, 4'7" tall and weighs barely 100 pounds. But detectives say shot another boy after a dispute over Snapchat. He walked to the neighborhood playground and fired into the victim's knee. He was later turned in by his own mother.
"What do you do with a 13-year-old in this circumstance? There is no right answer," said NYC Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. "The courts will figure it out. We all have to do more to make sure these incidents go on a steep, steep rapid decline."
In 2021, New York is struggling with street crime.
Just last week, a woman was robbed and beaten mercilessly by two people in Brownsville, Brooklyn. She was punched and kicked until she was unconscious.
Felony assaults are up roughly 20% in the past month. Young men-some of them teenagers- are using real guns with real bullets and shooting one another and innocent bystanders, alike.
"It's not enough to take a weapon out of a child's hand," an activist said. "You don't shift what's in their minds and their hearts."
In Queens, anti-violence activists met with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer who said he would push for $5 billion in the reconciliation bill to pay for community-based programs in cities like New York where outreach has been successful-but remains drastically underfunded.
"We want to give every person hope, and we want to give every person a better path," Schumer said. "So this is federal dollars, but a community-led effort."
Anti-violence activist Erica Ford says successful programs need to be expanded across the city.
"We have the ability to interrupt and mediate incidents before anyone even knows, before the 911 call is made," said Ford, CEO of Life Camp, Inc. "We really just need to re-emphasize what works."
Schumer admits that a big part of the solution is stopping the flow of illegal guns onto the city's streets. But with such a bitterly divided Congress, passing federal gun control laws is practically impossible.
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