WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The crime shattered a community, and a family.
Shamoya McKenzie was an innocent 13-year-old victim of a bullet fired as part of a gang war.
On Tuesday, the man who pulled the trigger took responsibility for his crime, and learned his punishment, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
She’s gone from their daily presence, but ever present in their lives. A bright light, McKenzie should have marked her 18th birthday last week.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s not easy because you want to celebrate the 18th birthday with your daughter. You don’t want to hear about court system, somebody killing your child. So it was really heart-wrenching for us,” mother Nadine McKenzie said.
David Hardy sentenced to 31 years in Federal prison for 2016 shooting death of Shamoya McKenzie in Mount Vernon NY, which grieves the death of this top student and basketball star to this day. pic.twitter.com/DvLScBHoC9
— Tony Aiello (@AielloTV) September 21, 2021
David Hardy fired the bullet in an attempt trying to kill a rival gang member. Judge Nelson Roman on Tuesday sentenced Hardy to 31 years in prison.
In court, Hardy put aside written notes and spoke extemporaneously, saying “I take full responsibility for my actions. I can’t say ‘sorry’ enough. If I could trade places with Shamoya, I would.”
“You taking action now? It’s too late. We lost Shamoya. She can’t come back,” Nadine McKenzie said.
Hardy was a substance abuser and gang member from his early teens. Ebony Walters is a Hardy family member.
“If I could do anything to change that day, I would. But here we are today,” Walters said.
Shamoya McKenzie had big dreams and the talent to fulfill them. She was a basketball superstar, already on the radar screen of scouts from UConn.
At the time of the shooting, the Mount Vernon Lady Knights described her as a “beautiful, intelligent young lady who brightened the room with her smile.”
New York Liberty all-star center Tina Charles later announced the Liberty made McKenzie the 37th pick of the 2017 WNBA draft.
Many posthumous honors fill some of the emptiness for her mom, who started a foundation to uplift youth and fight gun violence.
“Her life will go on, forever, knowing who she was, who she wanted to become. It’s painful for us,” Nadine McKenzie said.