“YOU CAN REPLACE A BROKEN WINDOW…

BUT YOU CAN’T REPLACE A BOY’S EYE OR HIS LIFE"

BROKEN WINDOWBW.jpg

Community activists call for a full Investigation into the shooting of a 12-year old boy accused of throwing a rock thru the window of an East Buffalo homeowner, who responded by using deadly force.

Details are sketchy. But what we do know is that according to reports a 12-year old boy was shot in the face after throwing a rock thru the window of an East Buffalo Resident’s Quincy Street home in the city’s Broadway/Bailey neighborhood shortly before noon. The youth, who turned 13 since the incident about a week and a half ago, remains in Children’s Hospital. He has undergone 10 hours of surgery. He lost his right eye, he has shot gun pellets lodged in his brain, a collapsed lung, a blood clot, a damaged esophagus and swelling on the brain according to a family member.

At press time there had been no charges or arrests in the case, which authorities say is under investigation. Community activists want to make sure that investigation is thorough. Lou DeJesus, of the Buffalo Anti-Racism Coalition, called the shooting “an abuse of any idea of self defense" to shoot at a kid that committed vandalism who is fleeing.

A homeowner for over 20 years, DeJesus said she has also had her windows broken. “A broken window is not a death sentence…you can replace a window…but you can’t replace a … boy’s eye or his life.” Victoria Ross, Executive Director of the Western New York Peace Center, also finds the shooting troubling and said what is needed is a full investigation. “Violence is an epidemic and its raging out of control,"she lamented She said that people should be criminally liable for shooting first and asking questions later. “There is no violent solution…violence cannot drive out violence," she said, “violence begets violence.” Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant of We Are Women Warriors said she was devastated when she learned of the shooting of a 12 year old boy who threw a rock and broke a window.

“While we all have a right to protect our property and ourselves from bodily harm, I have not read or heard of any action, minus the throwing of the rock, that would justify the shooting especially since the youth was still in the yard and his motivation for throwing the rock is still unknown.” Mrs. Grant said that concerns of many citizens in the community prompted her to call the Erie County District Attorney’s office for an update on the status of their investigation. As of this writing, she said "they have not called me back." Paul McQuillen, Upstate and WNY Coordinator, New Yorkers Against Violence, in a letter to District Attorney John Flynn called for criminal charges to be placed against the shooter, 61-year-old Edward Bald.

Bald, who was in violation of various sections of the New York Penal code, he continued, “took it upon himself to dispense justice, by means of a lethal weapon, in broad daylight... While, of course, we recognize the state law permitting defense of one’s home, that right does not grant unlimited, unsighted and wanton shooting.” “Throwing a rock and breaking a window is certainly not a home invasion…..and it'rs not a threat of deadly physical harm to this individual," he told the Challenger -Troubling- “This shooting is disturbing not only because a 12-year old was shot in the face, but the lack of justice and due process seems all too familiar related to how society sees young Back boys,” said Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux, president of Young Black Democrats.

“It is also troubling because there is a lack of investigation into this shooting and no accountability for what I see as a disregard for life and the reckless use of a firearm.” Bordeaux said she questioned some of the recent statements made by the shooter to various news agencies. “The homeowner professed to firing a warning shot through a hole in his window caused by a rock thrown through his window, and by his own statement, his reaction was to fire his weapon …speculating that the object thrown through his window was an attempted home invasion.” Taking issue with that premise, she questioned how he could have known that the rock breaking his window was an attempted break in and not just vandalism. And vandalism does not meet the criteria to use deadly force. “A shooter must be in eminent danger, specifically when the 12 now 13 year old in question never entered his residence. The only clear fact is that an object broke his window,” continued Ms. Bordeaux.

There was reportedly more than one child present during the incident and it is highly unlikely that the shooter fired without taking direct aim at his target based on the youngster’s injury she said. “There needs to be an unbiased investigation into the shooting, and I would like to see the shooter charged with a crime and the evidence placed before a grand jury for a potential indictment. “There must be a clear message that says we will not tolerate the maltreatment of our people regardless of living in a highly impacted Black community,” She concluded. -First Reports initial media reports about this tragic shooting were clearly designed to make the shooter look like the ultimate victim. Never mind that this was a 12 year old boy who was blasted with a 20-gauge shotgun in broad daylight. Never mind that a broken window was the only visible “justification” for this deadly use of force.

The shooter reportedly told authorities that all he saw was someone wearing a hoodie. In some circles, that is a code word for thug. One news story made sure that readers knew he was in a “dangerous” neighborhood. He had two attempted breakin attempts in the past – one in 2015 and one in 2004.

Then the story cited “three homicides this year within three blocks of Bald’s home on Quincy.” But we are talking about a broken window and a young boy who thew a rock. Family members are asking for prayers. Many in this community are asking for justice too.   

-a.b.