NEW YORK (PIX11) — A mother of two young children was shot and killed in Brooklyn late Monday night while mourning the death of a friend who was also killed in a recent shooting.
The family of Shalimar Birkett, 32, of Queens, was left distraught after a drive-by shooter opened fire on a crowd of mourners near the corner of Park Place and Howard Avenue in Brownsville around 11 p.m. Monday, according to police.
Birkett was attending a candlelight vigil for a friend—31-year-old Miles Bobbsemple of Brooklyn—when a bullet struck her in the head. She was found lying in the street when police arrived on the scene, authorities said. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Community advocate Tony Herbert and other neighborhood leaders on Tuesday expressed fresh outrage and concern over the continued gun violence. “If you know who pulled the trigger, let’s get that person in jail now. Let’s have that person arrested,” he said.
Police said Bobbsemple was a victim of gang violence—shot around 12:30 a.m. Monday after stepping on a gang member’s foot during a house party. Sources told NEWS10’s sister station in New York City that police believe members of the same gang shot up the vigil where Birkett was killed, but that she wasn’t the intended target.
Now the Brownsville community stands together in search of solutions. “We need to put in place an anti-gun unit. This unit should be a plain-clothes unit; well-trained; conflict resolution; real skills that focus on gun violence and gang violence,” Brooklyn Borough President and mayoral candidate Eric Adams said Tuesday.
Adding to the tragedy, the family that Shalimar leaves behind two young sons and that Shalimar’s younger brother was also killed a few years ago, another victim of gun violence.
“I want these killers to be found,” said Alston Josiah, Shalimar’s uncle. “Please find them, because the family is in disarray because of this selfishness at a vigil. It’s very disheartening.”
Police continue to search for suspects in both shootings, which are part of a disturbing trend involving gang and gun violence in the city. They say there were 505 shootings between January 1 and the second week of May.
The NYPD’s public database, however, shows the number of shootings is slightly lower—at 490 so far in 2021, as of May 16. Regardless, this is the highest number of shootings for this time period since 2002, data shows.