13-year-old basketball star remembered 2 years after death

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MOUNT VERNON -

A vigil for a 13-year-old basketball star killed by gang violence was held Monday night, two years after her death.

Shamoya McKenzie's friends, family and former teammates spent New Year's Eve remembering the athlete who was shot in the head by a bullet meant for a gang member. It happened as her mother drove her home from basketball practice.

The crowd gathered at Third and Pease streets, where she was shot.

The Mount Vernon girls varsity basketball team retired McKenzie''s No. 30 jersey earlier this year in her honor.

The team also celebrates her in every huddle, saying "Shamoya on five" when they break.

Her mother Nadie says she still goes to what would have been her daughter's games, doing it for the team's sake as much as for Shamoya.

"Even though I'm going through my pain, and it's hard for me to sit and watch the games," says Nadine McKenzie. "But I want to be there for them and want them to stay positive and focused."

Two weeks after Shamoya's death, David Hardy, 23, was arrested for allegedly shooting her. He remains behind bars, prosecuted by the feds in a larger gang-related case.

Shamoya's death also led the city to make changes. Her death prompted Mount Vernon to target crime and bring down shootings citywide.

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