SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In an emotional sun-drenched press conference led by Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, it was his Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens who broke down during her plea to the community for help.
“Another child is dead, and another child’s life is changed for the rest of her life. They all collectively are victims, and they are looking to the grownups to help figure it out. And this handful of grownups standing here behind the podium don’t have all the answers.”
Owens is referring to the tragic death of 13-year-old Naj’ee Wright of Auburn Monday night in the 1200 block of West Onondaga Street near Bradley Street.
A 16-year-old female suspect of Syracuse has been arrested and charged with first degree manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
She is currently being held in at the Juvenile Detention Center in Erie County. Chief Bucker the suspect is being held there because there is no more room at the Hillbrook Juvenile Detention Center in Onondaga County.
Our youth are making some very, very bad decisions at these difficult intersections of their lives and for a variety of reasons they’re making these wrong decisions. It’s going to require a total community response for us to be able to gain traction on some of these things we’re seeing.Chief Kenton Buckner, Syracuse Police Department
This death was just three days after the 15-year-old Radames Fransciso was killed in a shooting on Friday.
“Our children are dying,” — Helen Hudson, President, Syracuse Common Council
“We lost a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy within the past week. That is not normal. It can never be normal,” Mayor Walsh said.
On Tuesday, Mayor Walsh assembled a group of city officials which all called for the community’s help.
Walsh said the city is and will continue to take steps in curbing youth violence in the city, but still encourages those in the neighborhood to speak up and reach out.
“We lost a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy within the past week. That is not normal and it can never be normal, and we as a community need to do more.” Walsh said.
The mayor called for jobs to open for young people in search of summer employment. Syracuse, before the pandemic, employed around 1,000 young people to help keep them out of trouble. Syracuse will also continue to provide counselling in schools and plan on starting a police athletic league.
Walsh added that funds the city has received recently will go towards combating this outbreak of violence.