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Family Members, Friends Of Shalimar Birkett, Killed By Stray Bullet At Vigil In Brooklyn, Sound Alarm: 'We Need The Police Department'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A family spoke out Wednesday at the very site where a young woman was killed while attending a vigil for her friend who was the victim of a homicide.

As CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported, police are still searching for those responsible.

The young woman, a mother of two boys, was attending a memorial at the corner of Park Place and Howard Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn on Monday night when police say she was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. Investigators added she was hit by a bullet intended for someone else.

Tatricia Hamilton, the mother of 32-year-old Shalimar Birkett, was overcome with grief and comforted by her cousin, Harriet Heines.

"We are very distraught," Heines said.

Birkett was grieving a friend who had been gunned down hours before, when she, herself, was hit by a stray bullet at the vigil.

"She's outgoing, a lovely personality. She's fun. She always liked to be out with her sisters and friends," Hamilton said.

Investigators say Birkett was among a group mourning a friend, 31-year-old Miles Bobbsemple, who was shot at and killed at a party Sunday night in East Flastbush.

During the memorial, investigators say a white sedan drove by and someone fired several rounds, hitting Birkett in the head twice. She was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where she died.

"Justice for the family ... the city. We need the police to really, really help bring justice. I know that right now, like they have this whole big thing where they are trying to get rid of cops, but we really need them," cousin Harriet Heines said.

Police believe Birkett was an innocent bystander and that the intended targets were gang members who were in the crowd, and they suspect the same gang that shot Bobbsemple at the party also opened fire at his memorial.

"Right now, I'm still ... it's unreal to me. Unreal. I'm feeling hurt, family in disarray," Alston Josiah, an uncle of the victim. "A candlelight vigil ... what kind of person would do something like that?"

"Our kids gotta walk up and down the street worrying about bullets flying," another person said.

Community and clergy members are calling on the city to do more.

The 73rd Precinct, where the drive-by happened, has the second-most number of shootings citywide, with shooting victims up 130%.

"This is a tragedy we're facing and it's only early May. If we don't do something immediately, by July and August the ground will be covered by the blood of innocent victims. We need the Police Department," Bishop Eric Figueroa said.

Birkett's mother also lost her son to gun violence three years ago. No one has ever been arrested in that case.

So far this year there have been 564 people shot citywide, compared to 316 at the same time last year.

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