MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Officials in Mount Vernon dedicated a park to the memory of Shamoya McKenzie, the 13-year-old girls basketball star who was shot and killed in the city on New Year’s Eve.
On Thursday, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas and Schools Superintendent Richard Hamilton were joined by friends and family of McKenzie’s as they dedicated a Graham Elementary School park to the slain teenager, who was allegedly gunned down by 22-year-old David Hardy.
“Our top goal is to improve what happens behind the walls in our schools with the education of our students, but to become excellent at that we must also be a source of community pride and developing Graham School as a center in this community was very important,” Hamilton said. “We have more work that needs to be done at Graham this summer, but this project will hopefully be a source of pride for residents in this neighborhood.”
Hardy was indicted on second-degree murder charges in April.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, McKenzie was a passenger in the car when she was struck in the head by a stray bullet that was allegedly intended for another man involved in gang activity. McKenzie was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A second victim was also struck in the shooting, suffering non-life threatening injuries.
A star for both the Mount Vernon Junior Knights, Lady Elites and the High School JV Lady Knights, McKenzie had dreams of attending the University of Connecticut to play under coach Geno Auriemma before making her way to the WNBA.
Thomas said that Hardy was a seasonal employee for the city, and his position was terminated in December after he failed to show up for his assignment. He was hired by a former administrator, who is no longer working for the city.