Teen found with gunshot wound Thursday afternoon in Schenectady, police say


SCHENECTADY – A 17-year-old male was found on Van Vranken Avenue suffering from a minor gunshot wound to his arm just before 2 p.m. Thursday, police said.

The victim was taken by ambulance to Ellis Medicine, city police spokesman Officer Pat Irwin said. 

The teen’s injury was not considered life threatening, Irwin said.

It wasn’t immediately known where the shooting occurred because the victim was uncooperative, Irwin said.

The shooting comes just weeks after a City Council member asked for a hard-line stance on gun violence.

Councilwoman Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas recently called on the City Council to endorse her proposal to petition the state Legislature to up the minimum for a firearm charge to 10 years as a means of thwarting gun violence in the city and beyond.

A person convicted of a firearm possession charge in New York faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years,  with a maximum of 15 years if the person doesn’t have a prior felony conviction.

Zalewski-Wildzunas pitched the idea during the July 26 Council meeting, asking colleagues to join her in drafting a resolution to the state Legislature.

The proposal is still being considered by the council’s Public Safety Committee. 

During its Aug. 16 meeting, two councilors asked for more information, rather than petition the state for a proposal that they said wasn’t yet driven by data.

Councilwoman Marion Porterfield and Council President John Mootooveren suggested input from the district attorney and social services, among other parties.

They’re the “people who do this kind of work on a regular basis,” said Porterfield, who also wanted to know if the stricter minimum sentences had worked elsewhere.

Zalewski-Wildzunas countered that individual council members could conduct their own research, and she was steadfast in making the request.

“I think we need to have some sort of stance here,” she said, noting Police Chief Eric Clifford wrote a letter of support for her proposal.

“There’s so much gun violence in our city and across the region and I’d like the New York State Legislature to take a long, hard look at it and have some sort of discussion around it,” she said.

Council Majority Leader John Polimeni expressed support for the proposal, and suggested that the state Legislature would do the necessary research while it considered Schenectady’s request.

Polimeni appeared to express annoyance by the council’s inaction.

“If there’s no support, then let’s move on,” he said, later adding the council appeared “ineffective” by delaying a vote.  “Just say there’s no support and we’re done.”

According to statistics compiled by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, Schenectady’s violent crimes involving guns have increased.

The city had 115 violent crimes involving a firearm in 2020, up from 101 in 2019 and 90 in 2018. Its 2020 numbers include 18 robberies and 92 aggravated assaults.

Schenectady had five homicides from gun violence in 2020, after having one in 2019 and none in 2018.

Last month, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared gun violence a public health crisis.

Soon afterwards, the former governor earmarked $300,000 for Schenectady to combat gun violence with job training and workforce development programs for 60 at-risk young people ages 18 to 24.




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Categories: News, Schenectady County

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