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1 Killed, 2 Shot On New Years Eve, 3rd Violent Attack in Mt Vernon In Week

Officials Blame Lack of Leadership in MVPD For rash of violent attacks in Mt Vernon

6 foot tall, Shamoya McKenzie seen standing in front of Graham School. She wanted to attend UCONN basketball and major in Business. [Black Westchester]

Mount Vernon – Shamoya McKenzie, a 13-year-old girl was shot in the head and killed in broad daylight, Saturday afternoon on the last day of 2016 near the corner of East Third Street and Tecumseh Avenue in  Mount Vernon. Two others, one female and one male were also shot and have been hospitalized.

The New Years Eve shooting is the third violent attack in the city of Mount Vernon in less than a week. First was the Christmas Day Massacre at the Mansion Nightclub located at 4 North 3rd Avenue, that left the co-owner of a nightclub O’Neil Bandoo and a member of the club’s security team dead and four others wounded in a shooting early Christmas morning. The shooter 39-year-old Errol Hillary was out on bail for facing attempted murder charges. Then on Tuesday, December 27th a Mount Vernon man was stabbed in the leg.

“Yes. My heart is broken AJ and I can’t figure this thing out. Our babies are supposed to be safe,” Executive Director at NewFlex Youth Programs Inc, Nesta Felix tells BW. “She trained with NewFlex, Lady Knights, and was currently with Mt Vernon Elite and Coach Jamaine. At present she was a key player on the JV team with Coach Israel and had such a promising future in basketball. She was so loved by teammates coaches and I think she was the only child. This was just not supposed to be….”

Shamoya McKenzie, who played on the Mount Vernon High School JV Basketball squad, was taken to Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital (12 North 7th Avenue) where she later died, according to Council President Marcus A. Griffith, the two others shot are still hospitalized, their identities are not being released.

Witnesses tell BW McKenzie was an innocent bystander.

“I heard the shots and passed by the scene without knowing, on my way home,” Council President Griffith tells BW. “My prayers go out to the family.”

Councilman Griffith said he was not sure if anyone had been arrested around 4 p.m. on Saturday, Lohud reported.

Many attribute the rash of shooting and violent attacks in the city of Mount Vernon in 2016 to a lack of proper leadership in the MVPD. After Mayor Richard W. Thomas fired Police Commissioner Robert ‘Bob’ Kelly, Friday, April 8th the department has been without a Police Commissioner for almost nine months of 2016. Deputy Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate has served as Acting Commissioner since Kelly’s removal of office and Joseph Spiezio, the owner of R&S Waste Services also serves as Deputy Police Commissioner despite having no previous experience in policing.

Mount Vernon Police Benevolent Association President Brent Gamble adamantly voiced no confidence in MVPD leadership at the Wednesday, September 28th City Council Meeting. “We need better leadership. We have [MVPD] cops sending Tarrytown 55 resumes, Port Chester 65 resumes, County Police has a bunch… and it’s not just about the pay (pause), very poor and unfair leadership going on in the police department and it needs to be addressed,” Det. Gamble said in the City Council Chambers with Acting Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate sitting in the front row to hear the union’s displeasure of police management to date

Former MVPD Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony ‘Ol Skool’ Mitchell previously addressed the unsolved street shooting in Mount Vernon on a recent episode of People Before Politics Radio (see video below).

“I tried to advise the administration back in April the importance of finding and hiring a competent Police Commissioner, I even suggested several proven and successful Commissioners and or leaders,” Retired Detective Mitchell tells BW. “The advice fell on deaf ears. In September I advised some of the Mayor’s advisers that there would be at least 3 or more homicides before year’s end. One of the main reasons I left was because of the lack of integrity and competence of the investigations and the Leadership of the Police department. Who in their right mind knowing that the policing tactics, strategies, policies and personnel decisions were wrong for Mount Vernon would stay and watch this assault on our citizens. Especially when they would not listen and would purposely leave me out of meetings concerning public safety, which the Mayor was aware of. This pain and stain on the community falls squarely on the Mayors shoulders for allowing incompetent Leadership lead the Police Department, Leadership more concerned with nepotism, racism and positioning in the Police Department than serving the Mount Vernon Community.”

Retired MVPD officer Don Moore said he also tried to warn the administration this would happen,

“I told them this would happen and everybody thought I was CRAZY. Now, UNFORTUNATELY it has become reality. SMH!”

Details on possible suspects or motives in the shooting have not been released at this time. Authorities tells News 12 the 13-year-old victim was an innocent bystander. Mayor Thomas, his spokesperson and Acting Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate did not return our request for comment.

“This is a tragedy that will leave a major stain on out community for years to come,” Councilman André Wallace tells BW. “We have to do better.”

Former Deputy Commissioner Anthony Mitchell, Former MVPD Officer Don ‘Starchild’ Moore and Former MVPD Officer John Jones have all agreed to appear on a future episode of PBP Radio in January to discuss the rash of violent attacks and shooting in 2016.


About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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