Mother of 2 shot to death at vigil for friend killed less than 24 hours earlier

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WPIX) — A New York mother of two was gunned down late Monday night while mourning the death of a friend who had also been killed in a recent shooting.

The family of Shalimar Birkett, 32, of Queens, was left distraught on Tuesday after a drive-by shooter opened fire on a crowd of mourners in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn around 11 p.m. Monday, according to police.

Birkett was attending a candlelight vigil for a friend — 31-year-old Miles Bobbsemple, of Brooklyn — when a bullet struck her in the head. She was found lying in the street when police arrived, authorities said. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Community advocate Tony Herbert and other neighborhood leaders on Tuesday expressed outrage and concern over the continued gun violence.

“If you know who pulled the trigger, let’s get that person in jail now. Let’s have that person arrested,” Herbert said.

Police said Bobbsemple was shot around 12:30 a.m. Monday after stepping on a gang member’s foot during a house party. Sources told WPIX that police believe members of the same gang were behind the shooting at the vigil where Birkett was killed, but she wasn’t the intended target. 

The shootings are part of a disturbing trend involving gang and gun violence in New York City.

According to police, there were 505 shootings between Jan. 1 and the second week of May, a record number over the last decade.

“We need to put in place an anti-gun unit. This unit should be a plain-clothes unit, well-trained, conflict resolution, real skills that focus on gun violence and gang violence,” Brooklyn Borough President and mayoral candidate Eric Adams said Tuesday.

Birkett’s family said she leaves behind two young sons. They also said her younger brother was killed a few years ago in gun violence.

“I want these killers to be found,” said Alston Josiah, Birkett’s uncle. “Please find them, because the family is in disarray because of this selfishness at a vigil. It’s very disheartening.”

Police continued to search for suspects in both shootings.

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