Shamoya McKenzie was on her way home from basketball practice when a bullet meant for a rival gang member struck the teen while she was sitting in her mother's car.
McKenzie was talented and ambitious and she dreamed of playing professional basketball before coming back to Mount Vernon to start a business.
Her dream school, the University of Connecticut, later presented her family with a jersey with her number on it.
"It's not easy for us, but we are coming together to make a better Mount Vernon," McKenzie's mother Nadine McKenzie said.
They released white balloons tonight in loving memory of 13 yr old Shamoya McKenzie. The innocent 8th grade basketball star was killed 2 yrs ago in Mt Vernon by gang violence @ABC7NY pic.twitter.com/azSGAhtGQW— Lucy Yang (@LucyYang7) January 1, 2019
At the vigil Monday, white balloons were released in her honor. First the crowd gathered at the scene of the crime, and then they moved toward the family's church - where they embraced hope.
"That's why we're here tonight to remember the loss, to draw on the sorrow and anger and turn that emotion into action," Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas said.
David Hardy has been charged with second-degree murder in McKenzie's death.
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