Memorial held for Mount Vernon teen killed by stray bullet

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MOUNT VERNON -

Friends and family of the teenager who was killed by a stray bullet last year gathered at the scene of the tragedy Saturday to release balloons and celebrate her life.

Shamoya McKenzie, 13, was a rising star on the Graham Elementary School Junior Varsity basketball team and planned to play professionally.

Prosecutors say David Hardy, 22, killed McKenzie, who was an innocent bystander in a gang-related shooting. They say Hardy fired multiple shots on East Third Street in Mount Vernon, inadvertently striking the girl, who was in the passenger seat of her mother's car.

She later died at Montefiore-Mount Vernon Hospital. The incident occurred on New Year's Eve 2016.

Shamoya’s mother Nadine McKenzie says that “gun violence is not the answer.”

“Doing the right thing is the answer, not getting killed when someone is 21, 22 years of age," she told News 12.

Hardy, a felon and alleged member of the gang known as the “Goonies” has been charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in federal court last week.

Since it was founded this past year, the Shamoya McKenzie Foundation has made its mission to get kids into college and keep them out of street gangs. 

"There are too many young people dying. Too many young people not making it to college. It can happen, you can make it," said McKenzie. 

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