Community advocates rally for improved public safety in Mount Vernon following deaths of 3 teens
Community advocates in Mount Vernon are calling for county and state intervention the day after the latest teenager killed in Mount Vernon was laid to rest.
A rally was held outside the Westchester County Courthouse to ask 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 hurting. 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.
The group 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," says Patterson-Howard.
The plan included creating an Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement to pool city resources to reduce crime, find ways to retain more police officers, despite being cash-strapped and install more police cameras around the city.
The mayor's office doubled down on that message Wednesday, telling News 12 in a statement in response to the rally that they stand by the plans they've laid out.
The group called on the county and governor to step in. Both have not responded to News 12's request for a comment over the last few weeks.