Mayor Bill de Blasio promised the parents of a 10-year-old boy who was fatally shot in the Rockaways that the NYPD would "find this killer."
De Blasio spoke with reporters on Sunday evening, after meeting with the parents of Justin Wallace. "It is heartbreaking, but it's enraging also," he said. "Someone drove up in front of a house and started firing a weapon, not caring who would die, and a 10-year-old is gone. That can't happen in this city. It's disgusting and painful."
Just after 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, police said a person wielding a gun fired upon 342 Beach 45 Street, hitting Justin in the torso and a 29-year-old man in the shoulder. The boy was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital where he was pronounced dead, and the man was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in stable condition.
Justin's 11th birthday would have been Tuesday, according to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards who joined de Blasio on Sunday. "His family was planning a birthday party for him," Richards said. "Today, they are planning a funeral."
Justin and his family had been visiting his aunt's house on Beach 45th Street. It's believed the shooting may have stemmed over a driveway dispute: Albert Wallace, Justin's father, told the Post, "My nephew was going inside when the guy came running around … and [fired]. My nephew was opening the door, my son was inside the door, and he got shot."
The Daily News spoke to a neighbor who said, "Originally there was a dispute over the driveway, meaning paying for the repavement of the driveway. Things escalated from there."
Police released a video of the suspect:
"Whoever is responsible for this—turn yourself in," Richards said.
There were a number of shootings over the weekend, including one in the Bronx with a 12-year-old girl and 25-year-old man as victims. Citywide shooting incidents are up 77% through May 30th, over the same period in 2020.
During his Monday press briefing, de Blasio said that the city would continue to enact measures like moving police to 100 blocks where violence has occurred, using new officers from the academy, investing in cure violence and crisis management system, expanding ShotSpotter, and supporting the reopening of courts. He also said the NYPD had made 28% more gun arrests over the last year, but they need help from the federal government to stop the flow of guns into the city.
"The number one thing is getting guns off the street," he said.