MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Funeral services were held late Friday afternoon, for 13-year-old Shamoya McKenzie — a rising basketball star who was killed by a stray bullet.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, the community and police are rallying behind an effort to find her killer.
“The entire community is praying and it’s devastating,” her mother Nadine said.
Shamoya should be on the basketball court, in class, or hanging out with her friends. Instead she was in a casket surrounded by friends and family, including a mother who lost her only child.
“My only child, my best friend, my soul mate, my everything,” she said.
Among the mourners at the Macedonia Baptist Church in Mount Vernon were some of Shamoya’s teachers — still in shock over her sudden and senseless death.
“Shamoya was just coming home from basketball practice doing what a 13-year-old should be doing with her mom, and it could have been any of our children,” Christine Ceglio said.
The basketball star was murdered in the middle of the day on New Year’s Eve. She was shot in the head with a bullet meant for someone else — her killer is still on the run.
“We really need people to come forward because this was an innocent child. It could be anyone’s child and we need closure,” Nadine said.
Shamoya’s death has so outraged local and state law enforcement that New York State Crime Stoppers announced that the reward for information leading to the killer’s arrest has been doubled to $5,000.
Inside the wake, grief wouldn’t wait for answers.
“All we can do is offer our prayers to the family, and hold them up because it’s a very difficult time in the city of Mt. Vernon,” Rev. Patrick Tyson said.
Faith that the killer, or someone who knows him will come forward and do the right thing.
McKenzie will be laid to rest on Saturday at Mount Hope Cemetery in Greenburgh.