Shooting at Columbus Park raises concerns about Binghamton's youth

New YorkCrime
Collaborator: Rahkiya "Rocky" Brown
Published: 03/26/2021, 10:33 AM
Edited: 03/27/2021, 12:37 AM
(BINGHAMTON, N.Y) Community members are shaken up after a shooting Tuesday evening. We're told two people were shot downtown at Binghamton’s Columbus Park (AKA Assata Shakur Park). One person suffered gunshot wounds to their legs, the other a wound to the wrist. Police say both injuries are non-life threatening. Despite no fatalities, it was a traumatic experience for many. Columbus Park is a go-to for several Binghamton families, especially entering the spring months. Video footage captured from a fraternity house across the street shows dozens of people scattering from the scene as five gunshots rang out. Watch the video footage here: The graphic footage also contains audio in which you can hear people screaming as a white SUV dangerously speeds away from the scene. Columbus Park is a community staple. Local daycare centers bring their students there to play, the Broome County Urban League utilizes the park for the children in their afterschool program, and it is used for numerous community events, such as the annual Juneteenth celebration. Organizer Talon Thomas who is currently planning his second “Day Out of Quarantine” event at Columbus Park said he would like to see young men go back to settling their differences with their hands like they did in prior years, rather than grabbing guns. Check out VNN’s “Day Out of Quarantine” story here: “It could have been my kids in the park yesterday. I’m trying to throw events in the same park y’all are shooting in,” said Thomas. Authorities said a 14-year-old male suspect was found on West End Avenue, and that he was already wanted on an attempt murder warrant in connection to an incident on Binghamton’s east side back in January. We’re told he has been arraigned and remanded to a secure detention facility. Local pre-school teacher, Zaynah Alkhabi, expressed disappointment that she will no longer be able to take her students to the park. “I worked at this park for going on four summers now and nothing has changed at all, it just keeps getting worse,” Alkhabi said. “We need more outlets for kids around here because there is no reason a 14-year-old should have a gun.” Local activist Salka Valerio called the incident a tragedy and said that it further proves her point that there is no real help for at-risk youth in the Binghamton area. “We need better programs that invest in our youth and invest in mental health, not more cops,” Valerio said. “They just show up for the aftermath. We need preventative programs in place, but Mayor Rich David dismantled the youth board and put more money into the police budget.” She said officers depend on the community for tips to solve these crimes. “The very same community that the mayor ignores when they ask for better resources,” Valerio said. “Now here’s another life lost to the system.” Police said the suspect’s 31-year-old father was also taken into custody on a bench warrant for burglary in the second degree.


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