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Teen gunmen part of spike in NYC spate of youth violence – The Hamden Journal

Teen gunmen part of spike in NYC spate of youth violence

A growing number of New York City kids are getting shot — and other youngsters are the ones pulling the trigger in the majority of such cases, police data shows.

Just this week, a 17-year-old girl was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in the Bronx.

Young Prince Shabazz was slain while walking with his 15-year-old brother  in Fordham Heights on Nov. 30 over what police believe was a hit sparked by a drill rap beef targeting the older boy.

NYPD brass said it’s part of a troubling trend.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing the highest levels of youths under the age of 18 involved in gun violence,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said on WABC-770 radio’s “Cats at Night Show” on Wednesday night.

The chief pointed to “the availability of guns,” as one possible reason for the spike.

“And in certain circumstances, there are no repercussions for when people get arrested for guns,” he told host John Catsimatidis. “They’re coming right out [of court.]”

Surveillance footage shows the scene where 14-year-old Prince Shabazz was murdered.

NYPD statistics show that youngsters pulled the trigger in 98 shootings in the five boroughs through Sept. 1 of this year, with 119 of their targets also under 18.

A department memo obtained by The Post in September said 12.7% of identified shooters were younger than 18 during the first eight months of 2022, a significant jump from the same time period in 2017, when 9.2% of shooters were identified as teenagers.

Throughout all of last year, police said there were 102 underage shooters who targeted 138 other young people in the Big Apple, according to NYPD data.

Police said a teen pulled the trigger in the first shooting of 2022 — the wounding of a city cop outside the 25th Precinct stationhouse on Jan. 1. The 17-year-old accused gunman has not been identified because of his age.

NYPD cop Keith Wagenhauser survived the shooting — but others, particularly teen victims, have not been as fortunate.

A polymer 80 ghost gun recovered during the investigation into murder suspect Jeremiah Ryan.
The level of gun violence among teens is some of the highest ever.

In October, 15-year-old Jayjon Burnett was shot and killed on a Queens A train during a scuffle between two groups of teenagers, according to police. Cops later charged Keyondre Russell, 18, in the fatal shooting.

Earlier that month, a 14-year-old reputed gangbanger with 18 busts already under his belt was named as a suspect in at least two more shootings.

The teen, who was not identified because of his tender age, allegedly opened fire at a Dunkin Donuts worker on Sept. 19 and was involved in the shooting of a 20-year-old man shot in the leg on West Kingsbridge Road just six days later.

Also in October, a 17-year-old drill rapper was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a rival rapper, according to police.

In September, a 15-year-old accused gunman was charged with gunning down a 17-year-old girl while she sat in a car in the Rosedale neighborhood in Queens.

Jayjon Burnett
Jayjon Burnett is a 15-year-old who was shot and killed on an A train in Far Rockaway.

Essig said the uptick in street gang violence — with younger and younger gangbangers joining the ranks — is one of the driving forces behind the rising youth violence.

“A lot of it is gang-related,” Essig said. “The drill rap with social media ties. And the availability of guns for these young kids.”

He also pointed to social media, telling Catsimatidis, “you have a lot of it where the taunting goes back and forth, and, unfortunately, a lot of these kids resort to violence.”

Teen violence has even spilled over into a Bronx juvenile facility, where there were 257 youth-on-youth incidents as of June 30 — nearly double the 135 attacks for the same period in 2021, the city Administration for Children’s Services told The Post.

Keyondre Russell
Keyondre Russell was arrested in the shooting of Burnett.
Brigitte Stelzer for NY Post

Attacks on staffers at the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx are also up 17%.

Thanks to the state’s “Raise the Age” statute, the city has been forced to yank violent 16- and 17-year-old defendants out of Rikers Island and into the less-secure facility.

In September, Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, which helps craft NYPD policy, said research shows that the average age of a teenager picking up their first illegal gun has dropped over the years from an average of 16 or 17 to 12 or 13.

“It’s crystal clear we’re falling our kids,” Aborn said then. “We need to get ahead of it. It is a national trend but that doesn’t mitigate it.”