Mount Vernon – New York State Crime Stoppers has increased the award for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the fatal shooting of a Mount Vernon teenager, Shamoya McKenzie.
On Friday, the Crime Stoppers announced that they are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information on the fatal shooting that took the life of the promising 13-year-old basketball star. The reward has doubled from $2,500 to $5,000 after a donation from the Mount Vernon Police Foundation.
Mount Vernon Police says increasing an award usually brings in more leads and that is what they are hoping for. Authorities say there is a possibility that the reward amount could go up even more.
Officers hit the streets Friday afternoon, putting up fliers on local businesses in the area of East Third Street in Mount Vernon. That’s where standout basketball player Shamoya McKenzie, 13, was killed by a stray bullet on New Year’s Eve. She was a passenger in her mom’s car at the time.
Funeral services for McKenzie were held Friday afternoon from 1 to 4 P.M. with a service held at 4 P.M. at the Macedonia Baptist Church located at 141 South Ninth Avenue, on the corner of Second Street. She is scheduled to be buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Greenburgh the Saturday morning, following a 8:30 A.M. procession at Macedonia Baptist Church.
Shamoya’s funeral is a tragic reminder to residents that the stray bullet which killed the 13-year-old could have been anyone’s child.
Shamoya’s was well-known in Mount Vernon for her basketballs skills. The community saw her as a rising star. Her basketball coach Jamaine Alston says increasing the amount of youth programs will decrease the city’s gun violence.
Shamoya’s death on New Year’s Eve was the 11th homicide in Mount Vernon in 2016 and the fifth violence attack (four shootings and one stabbing) in Mount Vernon, the last 12 days of the year.
On Wednesday, a group of protesters, made up of her mother, coaches and many of Shamoya’s peers, marched in silence from the front of the Mansion Night Club to city hall, holding candles and signs with the names of gunshot victims in Mount Vernon, before filling up more than half of the city council chambers, where there was a moment of silence held at the Wednesday night City Council meeting for Shamoya.
UConn officially made Shamoya McKenzie an honorary member of the UConn women’s basketball program Friday, complete with a No. 30 jersey to match her number at Mount Vernon. A letter enclosed in a package ended with, “Once a Husky, Always a Husky.”
The 13-year-old star on the Mount Vernon junior varsity basketball team wanted to go to the University of Connecticut not just to play for the women’s basketball team, but to major in business. She then planned to play in the WNBA.
In response to the no-snitching culture or those who will not speak up with information about the fatal shooting of Shamoya McKenzie or any of the other unsolved homicides, I leave you with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on the eve of what would have been his 88th birthday.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
If this happened to your loved one, you would be up in arms that no one will speak up, do not wait for tragedy to hit your doorstep before you speak up. MLK also said; Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. So Black Westchester Magazine is urging anyone with information that can help bring justice in this tragedy, please say something. Anyone with information can contact authorities at 1-866-313-8477.
AJ is a Father, Author, Writer, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
You can also hear AJ every Thursday morning at 7:20 A.M. on Good Morning Westchester with host Bob Marrone on WVOX