NBC 4 New York
Hundreds of people showed up outside a New Jersey city hall Tuesday evening in an emotionally charged rally after a 12-year-old girl died days after being struck in the head by a stray bullet. Gus Rosendale reports.
Hundreds of people showed up outside a New Jersey hall Tuesday evening for an emotionally charged rally in the wake of the death of a 12-year-old girl who was struck in the head by a stray bullet.
"I was born and raised here in Paterson, and people are gonna do this?" cried the girl's father, Alexis Rincon. "It ain't right. It ain't right. And I'm gonna stand up for my daughter. I'm not scared."
Genesis Rincon was declared brain-dead after she was shot while riding a scooter on Rosa Parks Boulevard Saturday night. She was taken off life support Monday night.
Police believe the shooter was aiming for someone else, but have not yet made any arrests.
Only 75 people were allowed inside the council meeting, and the large crowd waited outside as the girl's family addressed local officials.
"I'm tired. I can't go outside, I can't take my kids to the park, I can't take my kids for ice cream," Alexis Rincon said of the crime that has befallen his neighborhood. "I was born in this town. I want my town back," he said.
The father said his other daughter was there as her sister was shot.
"She was there. She watched her sister's body drop, she watched her sister's head leak blood," he said.
Part of the frustration among city residents who showed up to the rally is the number of police officers on the streets. The community cut 150 police officers a few years ago during budget cuts.
Mayor Joey Torres, who was sworn in for his third term last week, has promised action and said he wants to hire 25 new police officers a year for the next four years.
At the meeting Tuesday, he acknowledged the residents' outrage, saying: "Hearing the chants outside, we all heard."
"When you create fear in a community, such as what gang members do -- they thrive on creating fear. That is a form of terrorism," he said.
The girl's father told the council, "I don't want to leave this town. Know why? Because now I'm going to make a movement so big we are going to take our Paterson back."