STATEMENT OF QUEENS DISTRICT ATTORNEY MELINDA KATZ ON RECENT GUN VIOLENCE
After a weekend of bloodshed that included the senseless death of a young child, it is more important than ever for our communities to come together. Our grief cannot weaken our resolve to stop gun violence. Justin Wallace’s death – indeed, every shooting – underscores the urgent need to stand together with our communities, clergy members, leaders, mentors, educators, and violence interrupters who every day help to get the guns off our streets and to create alternatives to this meaningless violence.
We will continue to prosecute the drivers of gun violence. But in these difficult days, and at the beginning of summer, it is just as important to come together as a community to reject the notion that the scourge of guns is insurmountable and reject the notion that this can be the new norm. As District Attorney, I will do all I can to facilitate this effort and to stand in solidarity to make clear that carrying a gun is not acceptable. This includes helping to steer the next generation away from ever picking up a weapon by providing education and mentorship opportunities for our youth. We must make sure that our young people do not pick up the same gun and instead, choose a better path.
We must take every step we can:
- With Attorney General Letitia James and the NYPD, we will be holding a gun buy-back event this Saturday, June 12th at the Mary Magdalene Church at 218-12 136th Avenue in Springfield Gardens. Every gun that we get off the streets is a potential tragedy averted.
- We are in the process of reviewing RFPs from applicants to implement the Queens DA’s Community Violence Prevention Project, received on June 4th. The goals of the project are to increase community engagement in anti-gun violence activities and initiatives, strengthen community-led responses to violent incidents, develop better connections to support services, enhance positive relations with the NYPD and ultimately reduce violent crime.
- We will issue another RFP this week from qualified applicants to implement the Queens DA’s Youth Development and Crime Prevention program. The goals and expected outcomes of funded proposals are to provide youth activities and wrap around services as part of a more holistic approach to helping young people reduce crime and criminal justice involvement and increase engagement in prosocial, recreational, academic, and career development activities.