MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — A 21-year-old gang-affiliated man has been arrested and charged in the New Year’s Eve shooting death of 13-year-old Shamoya McKenzie, an innocent bystander and rising basketball star in Mount Vernon, local officials said Tuesday.
David Hardy faces charges of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Officials is expected to be arraigned Tuesday, and eventually also be charged with attempted murder.
He has several prior convictions and violated parole when he reportedly fled to North Carolina after the shooting, according to city officials.
Hardy was previously employed by the City of Mount Vernon as a seasonal maintenance worker. Mayor Richard Thomas said Hardy was terminated in Dec. 2016 after failing to show up for his assigned job.
“He was hired under a former Deputy Commissioner from the previous administration who is no longer with Mount Vernon,” Mayor Thomas said Tuesday.
The investigation is still ongoing, but officials said the eighth grader’s death is believed to be the result of a gang-related shooting. They believe both Hardy and his intended target, Prince Scott, are gang-affiliated.
McKenzie was an innocent bystander struck in the head by a bullet intended for Scott. She was a passenger in a car when she was caught in the crossfire.
The teen was a rising basketball star at the Graham School, and she played for both the boys’ junior knights team and the girls’ junior varsity high school team at Mount Vernon High School.
She dreamt of going to the University of Connecticut for business, her coach told PIX11.
“Shamoya McKenzie was my one and only daughter,” her mother said. “She made the family proud. She wanted to go to UConn and the WNBA. She was looking forward to so much.”