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Kevin Miller’s death could have been prevented with the help of education and a support system for troubled teens to work out their differences, state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) said last week.
Speaking at the corner where the Campus Magnet High School freshman was shot last Thursday, the senator announced he would honor the teen’s memory by naming the first allocation of money from Albany’s new anti-crime initiative after him.
Smith, joined by Kevin’s mother and other elected officials, became emotional as he awarded the first grant of his SNUG program to a southeast Queens group that has helped to get children off the streets.
“Kevin Miller, a young man, just 13 years old,” he said as he began to tear up. “It should not have happened.”
After a string of several shootings in southeast Queens last year that claimed the lives of two teenagers, Smith and other Albany electeds started SNUG, which is gun spelled backwards.
The S stands for street intervention and stopping violence; the N stands for national, state and local support; the U stands for the use of celebrities; and the G stands for gangs, guns and gainful employment.
The $4 million program is funded by the state’s budget and awards grants to community groups across the state as part of a request for proposals process, according to Smith. The first grant of $500,000 was awarded to the nonprofit King of Kings Foundation in Jamaica and was named for Kevin Miller.
The teen was fatally shot in the head two weeks ago at the corner of Springfield and Linden boulevards, blocks from his high school. Two reputed Crips members were fighting with rivals from the Bloods across the street where Kevin was hanging out after school and the two began shooting at their rivals, investigators said.
The bullets missed their targets and struck Kevin and another teen in the leg. Both victims were not gang members or involved with infight, according to investigators.
The suspected Crips members, 16-year-old Nnonso Ekwegbalu and 18-year-old Gregory Calas, have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting.
The King of Kings Foundation, which teaches teens about non-violence and the importance of staying out of gangs, was formed by Lance and Todd Feurtado, brothers who spent time in prison for drug offenses.
Lance Feurtado said he and his brother regret their criminal past and want to prevent other teens from going down that path.
“Anytime we have a beef or dispute, we take it to the round table,” he said of his organization. “It saddens us that we’re losing our youth at such a high rate.”
Kevin’s mother, Donna Greaves, said her son’s death was a wake-up call for her and the rest of the community and promised to continue to speak out against teen violence.
“I was afraid of him going to school [alone] so I took him to school, but that wasn’t enough,” she said.
Greaves thanked Smith and the state Legislature for setting up the program and using her son’s memory to help dole out the funds to crack down on gang violence.
Smith pushed for further support for SNUG at the city and national level and encouraged other anti-gang groups to submit proposals for grants.
“The only way we can have him live on is to make sure nothing like this happens again,” the senator said of Kevin.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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