BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The father of a 1-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Brooklyn over the summer made an emotional public plea on Monday to end the gun violence plaguing New York City.
Da’Vell Gardner Jr. was struck by a stray bullet as he sat in his stroller during a family barbecue in Bedford-Stuyvesant on July 12.
His father, Da’Vell Gardner Sr., spoke about his devastating loss in a video released by the NYPD on Monday.
Gardner recalled planning his 22-month-old son’s second birthday, only to receive a phone call later that night informing him Da’Vell had been shot in the stomach.
“The doctors just come in and just tell me, my son is gone,” Gardner said. “It just took me to another world. I just couldn’t believe it. I just felt like I was living a nightmare and I couldn’t wake up. I just felt lost. I was in a dark place.”
Police are still looking for the suspect who opened fire at the Madison Street barbecue.
The NYPD released surveillance images in August of three men wanted for questioning in connection with the shooting.
The case is one of hundreds that have occurred this year, as the NYPD and communities across the five boroughs grapple with a surge in shootings.
Gardner urged New Yorkers on Monday to stop the gun violence.
“Help make a change. This has to stop. It has to,” he said. “I had to bury my son. There’s a lot of parents that have to bury their kids. Help make a change.”