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Hempstead mayor urges residents to help stop killings

A day after Brentwood residents condemned a spate of killings in their community, the mayor of Hempstead Village shared a story of his own family's loss as he called on residents to take action to reduce gun violence.

Mayor Wayne Hall Sr., in a speech on the state of the village Thursday at the Hempstead Library, told of the fatal shooting of his 18-year-old grandnephew, Darrell Gresham, outside his Brooklyn home in December.

"The one thing I found out because of this personal tragedy is that when it's a black-on-black crime there's no outrage in the community and it continues to go on," said Hall, holding a newspaper clip depicting his sister, Cheryl Gresham, and a portrait of her son in a purple graduation gown.

Hall urged the 54,000 residents of the village beset by a relatively high crime rate to help law enforcement officials stem homicides by sharing information and taking a stand against illegal guns.

"We as residents of the Village of Hempstead have to work and do this ourselves, because we can't figure that people from outside are going to want to help us," Hall said.

To that end, he mentioned the hiring in January of 17 police officers. He also cited what he called the success of the Terrace-Bedell initiative, a joint effort by the village and Nassau district attorney's office to eliminate the open-air drug trade in the Terrace Avenue area.

The speech, attended by close to 50 people, focused largely on attempts to improve the quality of life in the village. Beyond law enforcement, Hall outlined his administration's efforts to maintain infrastructure and stabilize finances, which has led to an improved bond rating.

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