Adams highlighted the life and death of 18-year-old Jayquan McKenley, who was shot and killed Sunday morning while sitting in a car in Brooklyn. McKenley’s death, Adams said, “hit me hard because the more I found out about Jaquan’s story, the more I saw how many times he had been failed by a system that is supposed to help boys like him.”
McKenley grew up in the South Bronx and spent much of his childhood homeless or living in a shelter, the mayor said. He fell behind in school and “was often absent” during his high school years. He was an aspiring rapper. He “had repeated contact with the justice system with multiple arrests, including a gun charge,” Adams said. He was arrested for attempted murder at 18, he added.
“We will do more for other children like you,” he said. “We must step up, save the children who are falling through the cracks upstream. We must rescue them before they are swept away in the rivers of violence.”
Adams said he was charging every city agency and department “with finding new and better ways to help children like Jayquan.”
He then outlined what he hoped to see from certain agencies, noting: “Police officers must find ways to keep them safe, and our justice system must work to make sure to keep them out of jail and ensure they have second chances.”
Recent events have shown it’s not just at-risk youth who are in danger of being gunned down in New York City.
In January, an 11-month old girl was shot in the face when she was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight at a busy Bronx intersection. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Burger King employee Kristal Bayron-Nieves was mortally wounded during a robbery at work. And five New York City police officers were shot in the month of January alone, including Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, who were killed.
Just over an hour before Adams delivered the address, an on-duty sanitation worker was shot once in the left leg, the New York Police Department (NYPD) told Fox News.
The gunman, who is believed to have known his victim, shot the man while he was working in the area of West 52nd Street and Tenth and Eleventh avenues around 11:15 a.m. Police believe the shooter was driving a Mercedes Benz, but have not released additional details regarding the vehicle.
The victim was expected to survive.
Meanwhile, the most recently released NYPD statistics show the numbers of shootings and victims have each increased 29.7% year to date as of Sunday, compared to the same time in 2021.
There were at least 131 people shot as of Sunday, compared to the 101 people wounded at the same point in 2021. Meanwhile, murders year-to-date were down 12.8%.