Family, friends gather to remember slain Mount Vernon teenager on anniversary of death

Mount Vernon community members reflected Friday on New Year's Eve 2017, when 13-year-old Shamoya McKenzie lost her life to gun violence.
Billy Garland of Mount Vernon recalls the incident, saying in part, “Here we have a young lady, minding her business, riding in the car with her mother and had her whole life before her. And because of stupidity and gun violence, she’s no longer with us."
Shamoya McKenzie was a rising basketball star who was struck by a stray bullet in the head four years ago. The bullet was supposedly meant for a rival gang member.
On Thursday, Shamoya’s mother Nadine McKenzie, along with friends, teammates and community members, gathered to honor her memory on East 3rd Street and Chestnut Place, where the killing happened.
"It's still painful, it still hurts. It's not a pain that will go away,” says McKenzie.
Members of the community tell News 12 the message is simple: to prevent another senseless killing like Shamoya’s. They say, “We need to get more guns off the street. Period."
As Shamoya’s loved ones and supporters look forward to a new year, they hope it brings change to the community so no other family has to suffer a loss like theirs.