Last week I talked about the devastating increase in gun violence in Albany, and that the police were asking for the public's help in finding the people responsible. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that a 17-year old kid was going around Albany being a menace to society.

Yesterday, 17-year old Jarrell Howard was sentenced to 10 years in prison, for shooting a three-year-old toddler while he was napping inside a daycare center last July. He was originally released to supervised probation.

Now authorities have connected Howard to the recent gun violence in Albany. Howard has been charged with second-degree murder for the June 24th shooting death of 21-year old Nyjawaun Thomas on South Pearl and Morton Streets. Police believe that Howard is also responsible for shooting two men on Central Avenue on June 8th and for firing a gun at a group of people on 2nd Ave. on June 23rd.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan is outraged that Howard was not still in jail for the toddler’s shooting last year. If Howard were still in jail, he would not have been able to run all over Albany causing mayhem and killing Nyjawaun Thomas.

District Attorney David Soares seems to agree with Mayor Sheehan. The District Attorney said, “We warned about the fact that young people who are carrying weapons shooting each other, the process in Family Court was not adequate to ensure the rest of the community’s safety. At the time, we were told we were fear mongers. Well, this is your poster child for what you passed.“

It’s very concerning to me that a teenager has access to firearms in the first place. It is also disturbing that these young men are compelled to shoot other people. We, as a society, have not gotten to the root of the problems that allow them to become so destructive. It is my hope that we can reach these young people before they become involved in any more gun violence.

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