The community is reeling after the shocking death of 10-year-old Justin Wallace. A suspect in his shooting on Saturday has been apprehended and his school is holding a vigil on Thursday, June 10, but neither can fill the void left behind by the loss of a young local boy who was taken too soon.
Justin Wallace, a 5th-grader at Challenge Charter School in Far Rockaway, was getting ready for graduation soon and to celebrate his 11th birthday on Tuesday, June 8. His family described him as smart, especially when it came to math, earning him the nickname, “Calculator.” The words charming, caring and intelligent, are just a few that his father, Albert Wallace, used to describe him in interviews with the New York Daily News. The many friends and neighbors that have stopped by his school and the home where he was killed to set up memorials, have shown how beloved the little boy was.
On Saturday, June 6, Justin Wallace’s life was taken from him. He was visiting family for a barbecue after a day at the beach and was getting ready to leave when a gunman pulled up in an SUV at around 9:30 p.m. and shot eight rounds into the home on Beach 45th Street, striking Justin in the stomach and his 29-year-old uncle, Kyle Forrester in the shoulder. Forrester was taken to Jamaica Hospital and is expected to recover. After his father discovered his wounded son laying on the floor, Justin Wallace was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea has explained some of the events leading up to the shooting. “There was a gathering on that day, a friendly barbecue, and there was a dispute over a shared driveway. This wasn’t the first time there had been words over this driveway and that is the incident that started the dispute where later in the day, this suspect came and shot into the stairway of the house, hitting two victims,” Shea said. Justin Wallace is not believed to be the intended target of the shooting.
On Tuesday night, what would have been Justin’s 11th birthday, a suspect in connection to the shooting, 29-year-old Jovan Young turned himself in to the 101st Precinct. Young faces charges of murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Of the arrest, Shea told NY1, “All of New York City was disgusted by that incident, and we’re just glad for the family that we can close that chapter of it. The sad thing is, it’s never gonna bring that young boy back.”
As shooting incidents are on the rise, on Wednesday, Rock Safe Streets led a call to end the violence near the home where Wallace was killed. On Thursday, June 10 at 7 p.m., Challenger Charter School, located at 710 Hartman Lane in Far Rockaway, invites all to attend a community vigil for their scholar, Justin.
On Tuesday, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who is among many to visit the Wallace family in recent days said, "He should still be here with his family, celebrating all his accomplishments, the incredible young man he had become and the bright future ahead. We will never forget Justin, and he is forever in our hearts.”
To assist the Wallace family with funeral expenses, donations can be made at: www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-justin-wallace
By Katie McFadden
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