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Gambian killed in New York

Gambian killed in New York

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By Brittany Kriegstein and Rocco Parascandola,

New York Daily News

A 21-year-old Gambian-American, Saikou Koma, clung to life for two days before dying from a gunshot wound to the head, leaving his family baffled as to who would target him.

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Saikou was shot in the head about 8:45pm on 24th October cops said Monday. Emergency Medical Services rushed him to a hospital, where he died two days later.

“He was a quiet, intelligent boy, shy,” his mother, Haja Kaira, 51, told the Daily News. “He doesn’t fight. I don’t know nothing about what happened.”

Koma, who had been taking classes at a Manhattan college and worked as a deliveryman, lived with his family about a mile from where he was shot.

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On Sunday his family, immigrants from The Gambia and Sierra Leone mourned at a mosque.

“Every nationality showed up,” Kaira told the Daily News. “Everybody feels bad because this is not just about me or Saikou’s family.” Koma was buried in New Jersey on Monday.

His mother said Koma was never in any trouble — and police confirmed he had no arrest record.

Koma was running an errand for Kaira, picking up some food from a close friend of his mom’s, and was on his way back home when he was killed.

After the shooting, the family gathered at the hospital, bracing for the inevitable after doctors said Koma’s prognosis was grim. “They said he had a gunshot in his head and he can’t make it,” his mother recalled.

Koma leaves behind five brothers and two sisters.

“We still have children. We are scared because we don’t know what’s going on,” Kaira said. “It’s not easy, feeling too much pain right now.”

“This gun violence has to stop,” she added. “The government, the mayor, they have to do something. Our children are dead… They’re not doing nothing because they’re not killing their kids. If they were killing their kids, they’d do something about it.”

Cops have arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with the murder.

Bronx Warrants officers Friday apprehended the teen, identified by police sources as Steven Mendez, after he showed up for an appointment with his probation officer, cops said.

The youth had already been identified as the triggerman who fatally shot Saikou, authorities said.

Cops charged Mendez with murder. A Bronx criminal court judge ordered him held without bail during a brief arraignment hearing Friday night.

According to NYPD statistics, homicides are down about 2% citywide for the year, with 399 victims compared with 407 by this time last year.

“America, they have the power to do it. They have the opportunity to stop it,” Kaira said of the gun violence that claimed her son’s life. “I want this message to spread and the whole world to hear about it.”

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