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Silhouette Cutouts to Honor Victims of Bed-Stuy Gun Violence

By Paul DeBenedetto | June 6, 2014 10:35am | Updated on June 9, 2014 8:49am
 Supporters hope the cut-outs will keep the victims' memory alive, while also raising awareness.
Black Cut-Outs Honor Shooting Victims in Bed-Stuy
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — On Monday, 16-year-old Laquan Nelson scrambled to save his own life after being shot in the torso outside his Lafayette Gardens apartment building.

The teen managed to make it out of the complex and across the street to the 88th Precinct station house at 298 Classon Ave., where he waited for help.

He was taken to Brooklyn Hospital but pronounced dead, the NYPD said.

For Nelson's friends and family, the pain of that loss will continue. To the surrounding community, shootings like the one at Lafayette Gardens disappear from collective memory until another takes its place, Bed-Stuy Councilman Robert Cornegy said.

But a new effort by Cornegy and supporters would help keep the victims' memories alive, while also raising awareness about the effects of gun violence in the community, Cornegy said.

"It came from me getting sick and tired of watching someone die, and there's gambling on the spot the next day," Cornegy said.

"After the memorialization portion is gone, so is the memory, and it goes on continuing."

On Thursday, neighborhood after-school program Foot Soldiers helped put the finishing touches on the first round of a new program in which teens help build and place wooden cut-outs at shooting scenes across Bed-Stuy.

The teens had cut out the first 25 silhouettes with the help of the carpenters' union, Cornegy said.

The kids finished assembling and painting the cutouts Thursday, and they're set to go out around the neighborhood on June 20.

Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has proposed making June "Gun Violence Awareness Month" in New York, has already shown support and requested the program in his own district, Cornegy said.

Choosing just 25 locations for the memorials has proven to be a daunting task in Bed-Stuy, where the councilman said gun violence has proven to be an epidemic.

"In Bed-Stuy alone there are some streets where we would have to put up four or five figures," he said.

The black silhouettes are intended to work much like the white "ghost bikes" that mark intersections where a cyclist is killed in the city.

Hopefully by seeing the cutout, a would-be gunman will think twice about pulling the trigger, Cornegy said.

"When I'm riding my bike and I see that ghost bike, I'm a little more cautious," Cornegy said.

"All we need is that one second of thought."