New Rochelle — A 19-year-old New Rochelle man has been arrested and charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an Iona College student, Brandon Lawrence in Lincoln Park in New Rochelle on Sunday morning.
Police arrested Stivenson Desir of 759 Main Street, New Rochelle, on Monday and charged him with second-degree murder for allegedly killing Lawrence, a Yonkers resident who was found fatally shot shortly before 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. Police received multiple calls of gunshots in the area of Lincoln Park just after 3 a.m. Sunday, and arriving officers found a man lying on the ground inside the park, bleeding from an apparent gunshot wound. Lawrence was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Brandon was like my best friend,” sister Brianna Lawrence told WABC Eyewitness news. “He was my other half. He told me all his secrets, and I would tell him mine.”
The Fashion Club posted a photo of Lawrence on social media, saying “Fashion sending all of our prayers & love to the family of Brandon Lawrence for the loss of their loved one. We loved seeing your fashion on campus, God couldn’t wait to bring back his Angel.”
The New Rochelle Police Department’s General Investigations Unit and Forensic Unit are currently investigating the incident as a homicide. A motive for the murder has not yet been released.
“The Iona community is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of an Iona student resulting from a shooting early Sunday morning at a New Rochelle city park,” the college said in a statement Monday. “The College is coordinating support services directly with students, faculty and staff and has been advised there is no related danger to the campus community.”
New Rochelle Councilman Jared Rice called the incident “deeply disturbing,”
“I abhor senseless gun violence, EVERY community should be a safe one. We will continue to focus on proactive solutions to make that a reality throughout New Rochelle. Crime is unacceptable anywhere,” he said Monday.
In a statement, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said that it is important that the city proceed with plans for Lincoln Park, which includes improvements at the community garden and installation of a new play area.
“Yes, murders are very rare in New Rochelle, usually occurring only about once a year. Yes, this was a conflict between individuals who knew each other, not a random street crime. And, yes, this occurred in the middle of the night, when Lincoln Park was closed, and families and children were, presumably, fast asleep in their homes,” he noted.
“All of that is true and may provide a measure of reassurance. But it’s also somewhat beside the point, because an incident of this gravity cannot help but shake our feelings of safety and security, especially for those who live closest to the scene of the crime. So this is an important moment to reaffirm our commitment to the present and future of the Lincoln Avenue corridor.”
Councilman Rice who is now serving in his second term, has been working with officials to make that neighborhood safer through several measures, including improving the park with better lighting and more open space, and adding more mixed-income housing and new retail to the area.
“I’d like to offer condolences towards his family as they deal with this terrible tragedy,” Councilman Rice shares with BW. “As a community, we need to continue to ensure that every neighborhood throughout the City of New Rochelle is a safe one.”