NEW YORK – The New York chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, issued the following statement in response to reports that New York Police officers shot and killed Saheed Vassell, a 34-year old father, last night. According to news reports, law enforcement officials said they were responding to several 911 calls about a man holding what appeared to be a firearm when they shot Vassell, who had a history of mental illness. It turned out that Vassell was holding a metal pipe with a knob on it. The New York Attorney General is investigating the shooting.
Every day in America, 96 people are shot and killed. This includes shootings by police, which disproportionately affect the Black community.
Gun violence in America — including shootings by and of police– has a devastating impact on the victims, their loved ones and whole communities. When it comes to police shootings, a single incident can shatter trust between police and the community, making community members less likely to reach out to police for help, and making it harder for police to do their jobs.
STATEMENT FROM SHENEE JOHNSON, VOLUNTEER WITH THE NEW YORK CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA. JOHNSON’S 17-YEAR-OLD SON, KENDRICK MORROW, WAS KILLED WITH A GUN AT A PARTY IN 2010:
“I know the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one to gun violence, and my heart breaks for Saheed Vassell’s family and friends and the entire Crown Heights community. I also know what it’s like to live in fear of gun violence, and the way it impacts the Black community. Police shootings are part of the daily toll of everyday gun violence in America, and law enforcement must be part of the solution.”