The shooting death of an 8-year-old on Howard Avenue Thursday night appears to be accidental. But it’s yet another tragedy for the city of New Haven.
“At the emergency room last night, just to see the look on the mother’s eyes who could never see their 8-year-old child again. Think about her arms that she’ll never be able to hold her 8-year-old child again,” said a somber Mayor Justin Elicker.
Police say the latest shooting death happened at 10:40 Thursday night. The child was shot in the head and taken to Yale Children’s Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
“If I were to lose any one of my daughters...I don’t know, I don’t know,” said Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker-Myers. “It’s really difficult so I don’t even want to talk about it.”
The emotional moments of reflection spilled out at an interfaith and diversity prayer session hosted by Walker-Myers and Alder Majority Leader Richard Furlow. It was planned prior to the young child's death.
“We want to bring everyone together and just take a moment because sometimes when people are going through a number of different things, they feel hopeless and we want to bring hope back to people,” said Walker-Myers.
The event was organized to help the city heal following the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, and the rise in gun violence in the city. Although it appears accidental, the latest young victim draws on the emotions of 2020.
“I think all of us, whether we live in New Haven or outside of New Haven or anywhere as humans, to really think deeply about how we can play a role in addressing these deep challenges in our society,” said Elicker.
Walker-Meyers says the city wraps its arms around the family and lets them know they’re not alone. She says the city should work to get them whatever services they need, and she extends that offer to all city residents.
“It’s going to be really important for our residents to know and understand that we’re there for them and anything they need they can come to us as elected officials,” said Walker-Myers.
Rabbi Shua Rosenstein of Chabad at Yale, Ricardo Heredia of Star of David church, and members of the Greater New Haven Clergy Association spoke, prayed and reflected during Thursday’s event.
Reverend D’Hati Burgess, a member of the clergy association and who lost niece Kiana Brown to gun violence, offered a prayer of comfort.
“And so my brothers and sisters, today I just want to pray for peace. That we have peace within and that as long as we have peace within, God would allow us to have peace without.”