Story and photo by David Greene
The Wakefield community paid their respect to an elderly woman they called a pillar of the neighborhood last Friday at her funeral.
Sadie Mitchell, 92, a long-time resident of Wakefield, was killed by a teen gunman’s stray bullet that flew through her living room window on the night of Oct. 20 as she watched television.
Family and friends, as well as Mayoral candidate, Bill Thompson, Congressman Elliot Engel, and Assemblyman Carl Haste attended the services held at Our Lady of Grace Church on Bronxwood Ave.
One unidentified church worker fondly recalled Mitchell arriving at church every Sunday with a bouquet of flowers for the altar.
Father Richard Gorman, the District Manager of Community Board 12, expressed his sorrow. "Sadie Mitchell does not belong here, she should be sitting by her window... none of us belong here, but here we are," he said. “A hole has been ripped in the hearts of those that loved her.”
The beloved community devotee was later buried at the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y.
Police have charged Jamal Blair, 18, with Mitchell’s death and weapons possession. Blair allegedly fired the fatal shot after being confronted by a group of teens near Mitchell’s home on E. 224th St, where she has lived for the past 55 years.
Despite a video taped confession, Blair pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charger and is in custody as he awaits trial.
Later during the funeral, Gorman called for the construction of a community center. He said the project, which has been on the community’s agenda for the past decade, would be the only hope against escalating teen violence in the area.