New York Grows Numb

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

Even for hard-bitten newspapermen in New York the slaying over the weekend of Zurana Horton is one to remember. The mother of 12 children was killed while trying to shield her 11-year old daughter, Alexis, from gunfire in the gang-ridden Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The fusillade that killed Horton erupted, according to the account in the New York Post, after a street fight between rival members of two gangs, Hoodstars and the Wave. One thug took a perch on the roof of a nearby building and, according to the Posts’s account, fired seven to 10 shots into the crowd below.

He missed his mark and, instead, one of the bullets he fired found Zurana Horton. The 34-year-old mother, the New York Times quoted the top spokesman for New York Police Department, Paul Browne, as saying, “was seen moments before she was shot, hovering over several children to protect them as the shots were fired. She probably saved lives.” Another mother and her own 11-year-old daughter were wounded. After the shooting, according to the Post, one of Horton’s daughters, Jenisha, walked past a corpse on the sidewalk only to discover later that it was her mother.

It gets worse. Horton’s Mother, Denise Peace, had two other children shot to death in New York City, according to a dispatch in the Post. In 1991, one of her sons, Quan, then 16, was slain as he was being robbed of a favorite jacket that his mother had given him for Christmas.“I came out of the house and my baby was lying there,” the Post quoted his mother as saying. A year later, her 13-year-old at the time, Zacquran, was, at the Post characterized it, “beaten to a pulp and tossed on the subway tracks at the Chauncey Street station in Bushwick.”

The Post quoted sources as saying that at the time the teen was scheduled to testify later that month in an armed-robbery case. He survived, but, 18 years later at Bushwick, he was shot in a killing in which the Post quoted police as saying he was the intended target. “I’m so mad that I get numb,” the Post quoted Mrs. Peace as saying. “I have to be strong for my grandchildren.” They are sobering words in a city that has seen the rate of murders and other crimes drop over a generation of historic police work.

The total number of shooting victims in the city year to date has only edged up only slightly. But any trend in the wrong direction is an early alert to what could be come a catastrophic reversal. The mayor likes to say, and with good reason, that New York is the safest large city in the country. This is the result of leadership by the mayor and Commissioner Kelly and hard work by all the officers of the New York Police Department. To keep it that way the city and state will have to adjust the budget priorities so that the police department gets what it needs to patrol, to seize weapons from criminals, to maintain the deterrent strategy that has been so effective in recent years, and to stop the numbness about which the mother of Zurana Horton has cried out.


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