A resident of a Brooklyn housing project where a 12-year-old girl was killed says that if soldiers can be sent to the Middle East they also should be sent to New York's war zones.
"The tenants here want the National Guard brought in. They feel that if the National Guard can be sent to Iraq, then they ought to be brought to Brooklyn," said the resident of the Cypress Hills project, who identified herself only as Mildred."Just that nobody cares about us," she added.
On Monday, children played near a patch of blood where Laykama Taylor - known as Sugar - was shot in the back while playing Sunday afternoon.
The Daily News reported Tuesday that Laykama may have been killed because of a family squabble, rather than being the victim of a bullet intended for someone else.
Her aunt, Pee Taylor, told the newspaper that Laykama had argued with another 12-year-old three days earlier and that older members of both girl's families had been dragged into the fight.
"That wasn't a stray. That bullet was meant for her," the aunt said.
On Friday in Harlem, another 12-year-old girl was shot and wounded while playing in a playground.
Yet another youngster, a 13-year-old girl, was shot in the head Monday night while sitting on a bench in the same Cypress Hills housing project.
The girl, whose name was not released, was sitting on a bench with a friend, said police Officer Scott Block. They heard shots and started running when the teenager noticed she had been hit. She was in stable condition at Brookdale Hospital, Block said.
He said she was either shot with birdshot or pellets from a BB gun.
Sixteen children have been shot in New York City since July 22, police said. Laykama was the sixth to die.
Many Cypress Hills residents say they are so overwhelmed by the drug-related violence they simply don't leave their apartments. Some tenants, like Mildred, want the National Guard called in.
"It's like a terror all the time here," said Trina Williams, 21, who was walking near the project Monday with her daughter, Tanara, 4. "You have to look out for your life all the time here. I was homeless before I came here and you'll take anything when you're homeless, but I didn't know it would be this bad."
Mayor David Dinkins called Taylor "the latest victim of the epidemic of gunfire that is turning our cities into war zones." Dinkins called again for tighter gun controls.
Another resident of the bleak complex in Brooklyn's East New York section said there are about three shootings per week at Cypress Hills.
"This is the OK Corral," said Latoya Williams, 16. "I almost been shot a lot of times. You just bend over and you hear some bullet go whizzing by."
On Monday, two teenagers who knew Laykama Taylor came to the playground where she was killed. They said their mothers want to move but have nowhere to go.
Also on Sunday in Brooklyn, 15-year-old Salima Brown was shot in the leg as she stood with a group of friends in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section.
Brown said shooting at random at groups of youths is "how they have fun" in her neighborhood.