QUEENS, N.Y. - It’s been less than a month since 14-year-old Amir Griffin was shot and killed while playing basketball on a court not far from his home near the Baisley Park Houses in Queens.
And on Wednesday, the community of Springfield Gardens — including the Griffin family, came to confront Mayor Bill de Blasio asking the city to do more to prevent more tragedies like this one.
“Amir came to your front door, that’s why you’re here,” said one man.
“Gun violence in this area which has been excessive in the last month or so we’ve had so many shootings,” said one woman.
“Come up with a plan. We want to see you, everybody wants a leader,” said Larry Washington.
It was the mayor’s first town hall in eight months, and the recent uptick in gun violence affecting communities like this one was front and center during the discussion.
The mayor announced a NYCHA community center will be reopened and renamed in Amir’s honor. He also revealed that a local police athletic league community center will have extended hours beginning next year, and the administration will invest $250,000 in local anti-violence programming.
It’s a small measure of comfort for the Griffin family who doesn’t want another family going through the same pain.
“I just want them to not only reach our family, because our family aren’t the only people in the community. Every family, every household all nationalities need to have the same opportunities across the board I don’t want our request to go upon deaf ears we want it to reach every household,” said Tiffany Griffin, the boy’s aunt.
Police officials made a show of force during the meeting, at times having tense discussions with residents, who want them to do more.
Incoming Police Commissioner Dermot Shea was in attendance and met with Amir’s mother.
“We need help, I think we do a darn good job at times but we are nothing without the community. A fourteen year old child that was murdered, that’s an open unsolved murder at this point, we need witnesses,” said incoming Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Those responsible for the shooting death of Amir Griffin have not been apprehended. The police department is offering a $10,000 reward for any information that might lead to an arrest.