Brooklyn pol ‘traumatized’ by fatal Brownsville shooting vows anti-violence push in Albany

State Sen.Jesse Hamilton Will Seek To Have A State-Level Task Force Formed

September 23, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
An NYPD cruiser patrols the Howard Houses in Brownsville, where State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and others witnessed the fatal shooting of a 28-year-old man in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon. Eagle photo by James Harney
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Witnessing the cold-blooded fatal shooting of a man is something Brooklyn State Sen. Jesse Hamilton won’t soon forget — and something he plans to share with his colleagues in Albany very soon.

Hamilton (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Park Slope) was meeting with local community leaders in the community center on Osborn Street at the Howard Houses in Brownsville last Wednesday afternoon when they heard a series of gunshots.

Moments later, a badly bleeding man, later identified as Rysheen Ervin, 28, of East New York, staggered past the window of the community center — in full view of Hamilton and the others — and crumpled to the pavement .

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“It was unreal,” the lawmaker said. “A young man was shot right in front of the building. Blood started coming out of his mouth. I [hadn’t] seen a man actually shot and die before my eyes. I was traumatized; the neighborhood was traumatized.”

Ervin, who had been shot several times in his torso, was rushed by ambulance to Brookdale University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Police believe the 3:10 p.m. shooting was gang-related. An investigation was continuing, they said, but at press time, there had been no arrests.

After praying for the victim, Hamilton and the community group decided to return to the community center and reconvene the meeting, which he had gathered to discuss the Campus, an initiative to bring more than 45 community-based organizations together to focus on four tracks: Health and Wellness; Career Development and Entrepreneurship; Technology, Coding and App Development — and Violence Prevention.

“The people we brought together [Wednesday] aim to prevent shootings like the one we witnessed outside the windows of our meeting room,” Hamilton said. “We are committed to stopping the violence. We can’t continue to lose young people to senseless violence.”

In the wake of the tragedy he witnessed firsthand, Hamilton told The Brooklyn Eagle through a spokesman that he “has a renewed commitment to legislation he introduced that has not gotten all the way through the Legislature.

“In Brooklyn, Sen. Hamilton founded a United Against Violence Task Force that has been working on anti-gun violence, anti-hate  crimes and other anti-violence work in the community,” the spokesman said.

“[Hamilton] wants to establish a similar group on the state level with the Youth Violence Prevention Task Force Act (Senate Bill No. 6220). The task force would study and evaluate the effectiveness of current and existing programs related to the prevention of youth violence, hold hearings across the state and report to the governor and the Legislature,” the spokesman added.

If formed, the task force would consist of seven members and would work toward — among other goals — increasing awareness of resources,  jobs and opportunities to prevent violence, and assisting violence prevention groups, including religious institutions, community-based groups and other providers of safe havens for youth, young adults and seniors.

In the short term, Hamilton’s spokesman said, he “has meetings planned with the NYPD and will continue working with the United Against Violence Task Force he founded.”


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