Friday’s killing of a Campus Magnet High School freshman has angered the southeast Queens community and now activists, elected officials and parents are urging neighborhood residents to band together to prevent another murder.
More than a dozen concerned residents gathered at the car wash near Linden and Springfield boulevards Monday afternoon to speak out against the shooting of Kevin Miller. Miller, 13, who was hanging out near the intersection after school.He was allegedly shot by 16-year-old Nnonso Ekwegbalu, who reportedly got into a fight with another individual, according to the authorities.
“It is impossible for us as a community to go around and act as if nothing happened,” said Marq Claxton, head of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, which organized the news conference.
City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said the murder was the result of a lack of after-school activities that help to keep teens off the streets. He implored the city to find a way to bring free teen centers to southeast Queens.
“We must have a full-time, after-school program that encompasses everyone at Campus Magnet,” he said of the institution that contains four high schools in one building.
Ekwegbalu was arrested Sunday and arraigned on second-degree murder charges in Queens Criminal Court the next day, the Queens district attorney said. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison, according to the DA. There was no indication as to how the teen acquired the weapon, authorities said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also called the killings senseless while he was visiting St. Albans Monday morning for a tree planting ceremony and called on the federal government to tighten gun control laws to prevent children from getting access to the weapons.
State Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), the mother of a Campus Magnet graduate, said parents have to take more responsibility for their children and teach them not to settle their problems with violence and crime. She noted the shooting has frightened parents who are trying to transfer their children out of the high school.
“Parents have to do something to give their children instructions,” she said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2009 Community News Group
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