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Monday, November 23, 2009

Community Meeting Tomorrow in Aftermath of Prospect Avenue Shootings

Last week was a violent one in the Bronx, with 2 serious shootings on Monday. And while media attention has focused on the case of 15-year-old Vada Vasquez, a separate series of shootings here in Tremont have prompted community members to organize a public meeting tomorrow to discuss what can be done to halt the violence.

Last Monday at about 5 pm, community residents heard gunshots and then witnessed a man walking up 178th Street between Mapes and Prospect Avenues, shooting back towards Mapes Avenue. He continued shooting as he walked beside the playground at the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center, where about 50 kids in the Center's afterschool program were playing outside.

The police came about half an hour later, residents said, and then left. But within three hours another man had walked into the courtyard of the apartment building at 2000 Prospect Avenue, on the same block, and fired into a crowd, killing Felix DelValle, 19, and wounding at least two others, according to the Daily News.

The Mary Mitchell Center, which stands next door to 2000 Prospect, is holding a public meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 4pm. The Center is inviting the general public, community residents and organizations, local elected officials, and the NYPD to discuss community actions to prevent more violence.

Center Director Heidi Hynes said she hopes those attending the meeting will think about the larger context behind shootings like last Monday's.

"The overall thing is the government needs to invest in poor neighborhoods. We have a culture of violence because we have generational, concentrated poverty," said Hynes. "And what we deserve is safe, sustainable neighborhoods."

The Mary Mitchell Center is located at 2007 Mapes Avenue, on the corner of 178th Street.


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