MOUNT VERNON – Family Services of Westchester Project SNUG (“Guns” spelled backwards), based on CURE Violence, a highly successful violence prevention model developed in Chicago in the mid 1990’s organized their monthly Stop The Violence peaceful protest and march, Wednesday evening, just hours after Mario Freder, a 28-year-old man died after being shot in the neck at South Fifth Avenue and West Fourth Street shortly before 4 p.m.
Dozens of Mount Vernon residents joined SNUG chanting, ‘Stop The Violence, Stop The Shooting!’
“We have to stop the bullying, stop the shootings, stop the violence!” Patty Coombs one of the residents who participated in the rally tells BW. “I’m out here because this is exactly what I believe in… there is way too much violence and way too many guns in Mount Vernon.”
Project SNUG vowed to hold these rallies once a month, not just when there is a shooting, they already slated Wednesday for the monthly rally, from West Third Street & South Third Avenue to Third Street and South Tenth Avenue. When news spread of Freder’s death, the group re routed their rally to turn to South Seventh Avenue, cut through the Dole Center yard and stopped to speak and pray on South Fifth Avenue and West Fourth Street.
“Don’t wait for the crime or senseless acts of violence to fall on your front doorstep before you come out to fight against the violence,” Jecona Vinson, one of the organizers of Project SNUG shares. “Come out now and join us and support us as we try to stop the violence in Mount Vernon.”
Once they reached the corner where Freder was killed, Henry Terry whose idea it was to continue the peaceful protest and march monthly spoke about the young man who died and Rev. Jeffrey R. Wheeler prayed over the scene of the crime, for the family and the City of Mount Vernon.
“We will be out here every month, not just when there is a shooting but like the boys on the block are out here we will be out here every month,” Terry tells BW.
Mario Freder later died at Mount Vernon Hospital.