BROOKLYN, N.Y. — As New York City continues to grapple with an increase in shooting incidents, one community advocate is calling for stiffer gun penalties.
Tony Herbert, with Advocates Without Borders, said on Monday that the city has thrown money at everything, but nothing is working.
“Those that have illegal guns should get 10 to 15 years in jail, and send that message — no conversations, no plea bargain — and I guarantee we can reduce some crime,” Herbert said while standing outside of the funeral service for a 1-year-old boy fatally shot in Brooklyn earlier this month.
Davell Gardner Jr. was laid to rest on Monday at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church on Fulton Street. His father gave an emotional eulogy, as did Rev. Al Sharpton.
“My son is gone. I don’t have anybody to sit there and watch ‘Cocomelon’ with. I don’t have anybody tugging at my clothes saying, ‘daddy, daddy, daddy,’” Davell Gardner Sr. said.
Dozens of mourners, along with Davell’s parents are still in shock over the July 12 shooting during an outdoors family barbecue, but they found strength to come together.
Eve Hendricks knows the pain of losing a child. Her son Brandon was also killed in gun violence in the Bronx about a month ago.
“That’s their baby. That’s only a 1-year-old child. My son was 17,” Hendricks said.
Davell and Brandon are just two of the many victims killed in recent shootings.
As of July 19, murders are up 24% citywide compared to the same time period in 2019. Shootings have also increased by nearly 69% so far this year, with 854 victims compared to 481 victims during the same time period, according to NYPD data.
Herbert said knowing Davell wasn’t the last to die is the hardest part.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, said now is the time to take a good look at why this is happening.
“No family should have to ever go through that. So when you look at what’s going on, it’s now time to reopen the criminal justice system, get it going at full strength and make tougher consequences for those who harm their fellow New Yorkers,” he said.