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Mount Vernon Teen Shooting Suspect Was Former Seasonal City Employee

David Hardy
David Hardy Photo Credit: Mount Vernon Police
Shamoya McKenzie
Shamoya McKenzie Photo Credit: MVHS Lady Knights Basketball Facebook

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The man arrested in connection to the fatal shooting of Shamoya McKenzie in Mount Vernon was briefly employed by the city as a seasonal maintenance worker, according to local officials.

On Tuesday, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas announced that 21-year-old David Hardy - who was arraigned on second-degree murder charges earlier - was temporarily employed by the city before shooting and killing the 13-year-old rising basketball star.

Hardy was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon on Tuesday following a lengthy investigation into the fatal shooting that took McKenzie’s life when she was a passenger in a car that was driving near the intersection of Chestnut Place and 3rd Street.

Thomas said that Hardy was a seasonal employee for the city, and his position was terminated in December after he failed to show up for his assignment. He was hired by a former administrator, who is no longer working for the city. He said his administration was planning to implement new policies and procedures with the City Council to "ensure that each and every employee and future employee of our city is properly vetted."

"The city of Mount Vernon expects each and every one of the employees in government to uphold the highest standard of ethics, accountability and respect for the life of every person in Mount Vernon," he said in a statement. "The Thomas Administration is requiring background checks, drug testing, and training classes – when appropriate - for all employees."

According to officials, the shooting is believed to be gang-related. Hardy was arraigned on Tuesday and is due back in court on Thursday, Feb. 2.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, McKenzie was a passenger in a car when she was struck in the head by a stray bullet.

According to police, McKenzie was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A second victim was also struck in the shooting, suffering non-life threatening injuries.

Thomas said that Hardy was a seasonal employee for the city, and his position was terminated in December after he failed to show up for his assignment. He was hired under the former administration, who is no longer working for the city. He said his administration was planning to implement new policies and procedures with the City Council to "ensure that each and every employee and future employee of our city is properly vetted."

"The city of Mount Vernon expects each and every one of the employees in government to uphold the highest standard of ethics, accountability and respect for the life of every person in Mount Vernon," he said in a statement. "The Thomas Administration is requiring background checks, drug testing, and training classes – when appropriate - for all employees."

A star for both the Mount Vernon Junior Knights, Lady Elites and the High School JV Lady Knights, McKenzie had dreams of attending the University of Connecticut to play under coach Geno Auriemma before making her way to the WNBA.

Last week, the Huskies made McKenzie an honorable member of their squad, complete with a letter from the school for her family and jersey bearing her number 30.

The response to the shooting has been wide sweeping, with family and friends setting up a GoFundMe fundraising page that has raised more than $30,000. Several local basketball programs have also pledged to raise money to help the family.

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