News Flash

Press Release & Media Advisories

Posted on: March 10, 2023

Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard's Statement on Juvenile Homicide

Press Release (Tim)

The City of Mount Vernon loss another life to senseless violence. Another child is dead. Another mother, father, and family must mourn their child and the potential that died with him. 

My heart is broken by this senseless and inexcusable murder, and I grieve with his family, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, and our Mount Vernon community. While we can do nothing to bring him back, we can and we must work together to prevent other families from feeling this unimaginable pain and devastation. 

This is not a time for pointing fingers and political attacks. I ask our community to simply ignore those who would attempt to score political points from a child’s senseless death, and to work together for a real solution to this plague of violence. 

As a community, we must put the public back into public safety. These are our children, this is our community, these are our neighborhoods, and this is our City. I am seeking collaboration with those who want to find realistic, sustainable, and innovative solutions based not on emotion, but on data-driven and evidence-informed best practices. Policing by itself is not the solution. We cannot arrest ourselves out of this situation. We must work together. 

I am not a magician, but I am a mother, a minister, and a mayor. This is especially painful because, for the last 72 hours, I spent time with Cities United and national leaders talking about homicides and violence in cities from Houston and Kansas City to Seattle, Mount Vernon, and Savannah just to name a few. I was so excited about the partnerships and resources gained that could impact the violence that we are collectively experiencing in our cities. 

And then I got the call that once again in our own City another family would be receiving the worst news imaginable, the need to identify and ultimately bury their murdered child. 

I am grateful to the Police and Fire Departments and EMS for their quick response and to our detectives who are actively working on this case. Thank you to the Wellness Division of the Police Department which is spearheading support for the family, neighbors, school district, and our first responders who have been impacted. 

The pain we all feel is real. Anger will solve nothing. We must have a coordinated, holistic, and multisector response to the violence and the drivers of violence that are plaguing our community. We cannot continue to point to one-off solutions, past practices, finger-pointing, and knee-jerk responses that feel good at the moment but do not move the needle on violence and crime within our communities. 

Over the next few days, I will be reaching out to key stakeholders on the local state, and national levels, including the Mount Vernon City School District, clergy, Cities United, SNUG, the business community, civic organizations, neighborhood associations, and other anchors in our community to further the conversation to identify realistic, attainable, and measurable solutions to address systemic violence within our community. While guns on the street go well beyond the borders of Mount Vernon, violence by other means is just as crucial to address. We will expand this conversation because public safety does not just rest in the hands of the police, but also in the community at large. I welcome those that are committed to being part of the solution and with ideas that may work versus criticisms of those that do not work, I encourage you to call my office at 914-665-2360. 

We are going beyond thoughts and prayers and ask that while you pray for this family, you also commit to being part of stemming the tide of violence in our community. Again, I look forward to generative and productive discussions to make this family the last one to experience this profound and senseless loss. 

“The Jewel of Westchester” 

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