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Gun violence tears a hole in the heart - Grieving mom calls for an end to killings

To most of the media, the murder was just another senseless statistic on the hardened streets of East Flatbush. But to the victim’s mother, the first anniversary of Ronald Petgrave’s death is reason to remember and send out a message. “There are so many parents grieving like I am. All I want is for young people just to love one another,” said a still distraught Icylin Petgrave, 56. Ronald Petgrave, 17, was gunned down January 22, 2006, becoming the first murder victim of last year in the 67th Precinct. The incident unfolded at about 1:30 a.m. on that fateful day, when police said that Petgrave and another teen, Jamal Simon, were at a Sweet 16 party for another classmate at 62 East 52nd Street and left to go to another party. At the time, Petgrave was an aspiring rapper whose star was on the rise, having sold out a local show and whose CD was selling well on the street, drawing the interest of several record companies. According to police, the alleged killer, Renadio Barrow, 17, a.k.a. Beanzie of Flatbush, was outside the party in wait for what police sources suspect was a gang-related shooting. Petgrave was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm and died shortly after arrival at Kings County Hospital. Simon survived gunshot wounds to the cheek and right shoulder. Following the shooting, police canvassed the area and interviewed several people at the party who may have witnessed the shooting. This led a tip to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline, where police learned that the shooter’s street name was ‘Beanzie.’ The continuing investigation led cops to Barrow, who was apprehended in upstate Schenectady on February 16. At the time of his arrest, Barrow has five prior arrests including one for gun possession. Police sources suspect he is a member of the BMW (Brooklyn Most Wanted) gang. But for Icylin Petgrave, the death of her youngest of six children is especially painful considering his ambition to get ahead in the world. “He used to say, ‘Mom, I’m going to take you out of Brooklyn. I’m going to buy you houses.’ He was going to give me everything I need and he was getting there,” said the tearful mother. “The day before he died, [Ronald] was out all day with his producer. I gave him breakfast and that same day I went out and bought him a suit to perform in — the same suit I had to bury him in,” she added. Petgrave said her slain son’s brother, Jonathan, 20, was only a year older than Ronald and they used to do everything together. “Just yesterday my other son was crying. I had to hold him in my arms because he said, ‘Mom a part of me is gone,’” said Petgrave. Petgrave said she heard that her son’s CD was the only one being played at the party and she suspects jealousy may have been the cause behind the shooting. “If you’re not on a street or in a gang, they don’t want to see it. If you try to make something in your life, they just don’t want to see it,” she said. Petgrave said her son was never in a gang and went to church regularly. Ronald Petgrave also knew his alleged killer, as the two went to the same junior high school and spent some time together as early as a month before he was killed, according to his mother. Barrow, who was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, criminal use of a firearm and two counts of criminal possession of a dearly weapon, remains on Rikers Island awaiting trial. Petgrave said she has already been to the courts seven times to attend Barrow’s hearings. On several occasions, she also saw Barrow’s mother, but the two never exchanged words. Despite her sorrow, Petgrave said she is against capital punishment. However, she does believe that, if convicted, Barrow should spend life behind bars. “This man is not supposed to be out on the street ever again. He should get life imprisonment and not come out and see this life anymore,” said Petgrave.

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