NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn community demanded an end to street and gun violence Wednesday night, just days after a young boy got caught in the crossfire of a playground shooting.
A peace and prayer rally was held in the same playground where 3-year-old Isaiah Rivera was shot in the leg on Sunday as he was playing a by a sprinkler, 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reported.
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The toddler and his parents were at the rally, where his father, Jose Rivera, said the violence just has to stop.
“Who is going to be the next victim? It’s just too unfortunate. I was reading last night in the newspaper there’s been 77 shootings within the last week,” Jose Rivera said.
Jose Rivera thanked everyone for their support in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but added “It shouldn’t take a 3-year-old little boy to bring the community together.” He also talked about what a profound affect the shooting had on his kids.
“My son not being able to come out, being in fear of coming outside. My oldest son being in fear of coming outside, even my next-door neighbor’s son being in fear of coming outside because they were all out here when this whole thing occurred,” he said.
Community leaders joined with city officials, including Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who called on the community to break its silence and turn in a third shooting suspect, 20-year-old Jashid Chambers, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.
“This is a strong community, a strong neighborhood and there’s no reason why empty-headed thugs should be able to carry guns and shoot people like Isaiah Rivera,” Hynes said.
The toddler’s shooting prompted Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to point his finger back at the community earlier this week.
“The fact of the matter is that 96 percent of shooting victims are people of color, yet the community leaders are not speaking out about this. We’d like to hear from them,” Kelly said.
It’s a point some community leaders took issue with.
“I don’t know what the individual who made that statement was talking about, because we’ve been outraged for quite some time,” said Rev. Taharka Robinson, of the Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition.
With t-shirts touting peace and prayer, neighbors and officials said stopping the violence should be everyone’s goal.
“The gun violence has to stop,” said Tiffiney Monagas, Isaiah Rivera’s mother.
“Because snitching is a duty, it’s a responsibility, it’s an honor that we have to this community,” added Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James.
Some solutions that may have come from Wednesday night’s rally include counseling for children of the city who’ve witnessed too much violence during their young lives, and stiff, mandatory prison sentences for anyone convicted of shooting a child.
So far, there have been two arrests in the Rivera shooting case, including one gunman and a getaway driver. Brooklyn DA Hynes is asking anyone with information about the third suspect to come forward.