A New York City woman lost her life while following a local Democrat’s advice to confront neighborhood troublemakers rather than calling the police, according to her mother.
Shatavia Walls, 33, was shot eight times at a Brooklyn housing complex on July 7 after approaching a group of people setting off illegal fireworks in a playground, Helen Testagros, her mother, told local media this week.
- Walls and her friend Kelvin Hernandez, 30, asked the group to stop detonating the explosives while children played nearby, Testagros said.
- The suspect in the fatal shooting, who had recently fired at Walls during a similar encounter, chased her down and emptied his clip into her, according to her mother.
- Walls and Hernandez, who was also shot, were taken to a nearby hospital, where she succumbed to her wounds on Friday; he survived.
Bad advice? Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a Democrat, last month responded to a rash of community complaints about illegal fireworks explosions by advising residents to “go talk to the young people or the people on your block who are using fireworks” instead of alerting the New York Police Department.
- “We want a good community response to dealing with a nuisance, this is a nonviolent act,” Adams said. “Those three numbers that we dial, 911? Get over that.”
- “Either we’re going to stop heavy-handed policing and our communities are going to be engaged … We marched for two-plus weeks over ending over-aggressive police action, we’re not going backwards,” he added, referring to recent protests against racism and policing that took place in New York City and nationwide.
- Adams has previously pushed back on the city’s criminal justice reforms and defunding of the NYPD amid a local spike in gun violence.
A heartbroken mother: Testagros told The New York Post her daughter had heard Adams’ admonition against calling 911 on TV and “it was probably on her mind.”
- “It’s not a good idea. You don’t know who you are approaching,” she said. “These kids are not respectful anymore. … They’re more ruthless.”
- Referring to armed gangbangers, Testagros said: “You gotta stop them. It’s going to get worse.”
Adams, a presumptive 2021 New York City mayoral candidate, said in a statement this week that his “heart goes out” to Walls’ family.
- While he decried gun violence and gangs, he stood by his call for residents to resolve “nonviolent” disputes without involving the police.
- “Whenever someone exhibits violence, we should call the police, but whenever we can communicate peacefully with our neighbors, we should do so,” he said.
Police have not publicly identified Walls’ suspected killer because he remains at large.