The family of a 1-year-old boy who was killed by gunfire in Brooklyn earlier this month said their final goodbyes on Monday.
Rev. Al Sharpton joined young Davell Gardner's family in laying the boy to rest at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. The reverend also delivered a eulogy at the funeral service for the baby who was among four people shot at a family gathering on July 14.
"If you can look at a baby and not stop gun violence, you are not worth anything to anybody," Sharpton said.
"My son is gone... don't have anyone pulling on me saying daddy," Davell Gardner, Sr. said Monday.
The boy’s family wrote in the funeral program that Davell “smiled and showed his dimples with a sparkle in his eyes.” The family members said he “is in heaven and he’s the family guardian angel. He will never be forgotten.”
The toddler's tiny casket was decorated with cartoon characters and flanked by floral arrangements. A teddy bear and Elmo toy sat on top.
State Attorney General Letitia James and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, were also in attendance.
"People selling illegal guns must take responsibility," James said. "Black lives and lives of babies must matter to us first.
Authorities had said two men walked up to the gathering on Madison Street in Bed-Stuy before midnight and someone started shooting from across Raymond Bush Park. The young boy who was in his stroller had been shot in the stomach. Family members rushed him to the hospital, where he later died.
The shooting was a part of weeks of increased gun violence around New York City. More than twice the number of shootings was recorded that week over the same time period last year.
Addressing the senseless shooting in an interview with Rev. Sharpton on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "I've seen a lot of really troubling things in seven years now as Mayor, but a 1-year-old killed on a playground, and when I talked to his mom the next day, I mean the shock and the pain in her face and the tears streaming down her face."
"We cannot make the mistake of the past – send in more and more officers without an attempt to actually work with the people whose community it is," the mayor said.
A person of interest is in police custody for the shooting, three law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the case told News 4 earlier this month.
The NYPD's shooting database logged 43 shootings the week of Gardner's killing, compared to 13 last year - that's a 231 percent increase. The department says five people were killed in those shootings compared with 10 last year.
News 4 obtained data from the NYPD on shootings in New York City between January 1 and July 12 that reflect a 70 percent increase over the same period last year. One hundred fifteen victims of shootings this year have died - that's up from 69 victims in the same six-month period last year.
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