As Bronx gun violence spikes, commuties are up in arms

As Bronx gun violence spikes, commuties are up in arms
Concilmembers Vanessa Gibson and Diana Ayala speak during the rally.
Community News Group/ Alex Mitchell

Warmer weather has spelled out a great deal of trouble for some Bronx neighborhoods. An influx of gun violence and shootings has risen around the borough in recent weeks.

The Highbridge community endured two major shootings in a span of just days in early June.

A double shooting that injured a 13-year-old girl occurred at the Nelson Playground cornering East 166th Street on Thursday, June 7, while a quadruple drive-by shooting took place two blocks away near the intersection of East 166th Street and Summit Avenue just days following on Tuesday, June 12.

The appalled community organized a rally and gun violence awareness walk between the two sites on Tuesday, June 19. Councilmembers Vanessa Gibson and Diana Ayala led the charge on the two-block walk between sites, speaking about how gun violence affected them not only as representatives but as people too.

“This is a really personal issue for me, I witnessed gun violence for the first time when I was five years old and I can tell you I will never forget it and I’m going to be 45 this year,” Ayala told the crowd. “When I was 16, I lost my son’s father to gun violence. Because of this senseless violence my son grew up without his father, all because someone stepped on a pair of sneakers,” she said.

Ayalya pointed out that the funding in the newly-passed city budget will be targeted to resisting gun violence and to trauma care to aid victims.

“We want to show that we’re normal people opposing gun violence that want a save community,” said Gabriela Silverio, one of the walk’s organizers with the organization Bridge Builders Community Partnership. “Our community has a lot of positive things to give and we want that to be seen,” she added.

“We recognize we have to do something, we recognize that we have to be aggressive in our approach, we’ve been working with the 44th Precinct a great deal but everyone has to take a hold and responsibility for what’s happening in our community,” said Gibson.

“We also want to be a resource of information which is why we’ve brought together so many community organizations for this walk, we wanted to get together and say no more, we denounce violence in any forms, we want to prevent the next time, we want to prevent the next victim before it happens,” the councilmember added.

Gibson mentioned that much of the Highbridge violence comes from those living outside of the community.

Sadly enough, just two days after the walk and rally, a lethal triple shooting claimed the lives of three during the morning hours Thursday, June 21 in Castle Hill. One of the victims was an innocent bystander.

The bloodshed occurred on Castle Hill Avenue, between Cincinnatus and Randall avenues. The suspect is still at large.

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