Advocates call for improved safety in Mount Vernon after latest slain teen laid to rest
Community advocates are once again calling for improved safety in Mount Vernon the day after the latest teenager killed in Mount Vernon was laid to rest.
A group rallied outside the county courthouse in White Plains Wednesday to call for county or state officials to step in and declare a public safety state of emergency.
The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Tomani Turner on April 6 brings back tough emotions for Mount Vernon mother Tyia Patrick whose son, Lance McDowdell, was fatally shot in Arizona in 2019.
She was among those who rallied for improved public safety in Mount Vernon.
"I'm still hurting and gun violence has to stop. We need to do something about it,” she says.
Turner was the third teen killed in the city this year.
Sergey Tonkovid, 19, was stabbed in February and 14-year-old Zyaire Fernandez was fatally shot in March.
Save Mount Vernon has held similar rallies this month with one common message.
"If you don't take care of it, it's going to happen again, and again, and again,” says Jesse Van Lew, founder of Save Mount Vernon.
Earlier this month, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard held her State of the City address that emphasized a public safety plan.
"We have to put the public back in public safety and that's what we're going to do,” she says.
It included creating an Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement to pool city resources to reduce crime, finding ways to retain more police officers despite being cash-strapped, and installing more police cameras around the city.
The mayor's office doubled down on that message, telling News 12 in response to the rally that they stand by the plans they've laid out.