Hip hop fans and politicians alike gathered on Saturday to commemorate the late 20-year-old rapper Kenneth Casilla by co-naming the intersection of Third Avenue and Baltic Street in Boerum Hill after the Brooklyn native, who was shot dead while in a car at an apartment complex in the Little Haiti section of Miami in 2013.
Kenneth Casilla, also known by his rap name “Nu Money” as a member of Rich Mafia music group, had moved from Brooklyn to Miami to further his career in music, and had just been offered a record deal before the deadly incident.
The investigation held by the Miami Dade Police Department concluded the man who killed Casilla has also since died.
Casilla’s mother, Yvette Ramos, collected over 700 signatures on change.org asking to co-name the street at the corner of Third Avenue and Baltic Street, where the Casilla-Ramos family lives in the Wycoff Gardens housing complex, after the late rapper.
Ramos has hosted reunions for mothers who have lost their children to gun violence, to come together as a support group and to raise awareness on the issue — passing her son’s story to countless others affected by shooting incidents.
“He was loved by all in the neighborhood,” said Saul Acosta, Boerum Hill local.
Casilla graduated from Brooklyn’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in 2010, where he was a member of the basketball team and played during a Division Title run.
“Kenny didn’t need that much guidance,” said Brendan Sullivan, the former varsity basketball coach at FDR High School in Bensonhurst. “He was a really good kid.”
Gun violence deaths continue to increase all throughout the country, with 94 shootings in New York City so far this year, compared to 71 in the same period last year, and a 38 percent increase in overall index crime, according to the New York Police Department.
President Joe Biden met with Mayor Eric Adams during his last visit to NYC earlier this month and announced investing in policing and community intervention programs in response to the surge in gun violence.
“The answer is not to abandon our streets,” Biden said. “The answer is to come together, police and communities, building trust and making us all safer.”
Biden restated his calls for Congress to approve $300 million dollars to fund the hiring of more community police officers and $200 million dollars for evidence-based community violence interventions, in a press statement released the same day.