Assemblymember William Colton held a vigil last week for 19-year-old Dereck Chen, who was shot to death Aug. 4 in the parking garage of BJ’s Wholesale Club on Shore Parkway.
The alleged shooter, Edino Tzul, 18, was charged with murder, six counts of robbery, four counts of criminal use of a firearm and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
The vigil took place outside Colton’s office at 155 Kings Highway.
“It’s a terrible thing for a parent to bury a child when it’s done suddenly because of a violent act,” Colton said. “[Chen] lost his life simply because he wanted to protect what was his.”
Colton also called gun violence a public health issue and said it has to stop.
“Congress must pass laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill persons and the state must pass laws strictly punishing all those caught carrying an illegal gun,” he said.
Councilmember Ari Kagan also attended the vigil and said more needs to be done to prevent shootings.
“We need to do much more like support law enforcement, have more youth programs and to make sure there are laws in place that are working,” Kagan said ”We need to do more because enough is enough. We cannot afford more tragedies like this.”