Mayor Eric Adams joined members of Brooklyn’s Uzbek and Muslim community at a Sunset Park mosque Thursday to mourn the passing of a 15-year-old boy who was fatally shot in the back as he left summer school classes in Bensonhurst.
Faridun Mavlonov, a talented student who had dreams of becoming UFC fighter, was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the back after several shots were fired near the corner of 62nd Street and 20th Avenue on July 17.
First responders rushed Mavlonov to Maimonides Medical Center in critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries early the next day.
Ahead of the July 20 funeral service at the Muslim Community Center on 3rd Avenue, the teen’s heartbroken family were greeted by hundreds of solemn mourners, among them the newly-appointed NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban and Adams.
Speaking to the press, and translated by Council Member Ari Kagan, the boy’s grandmother, Umaro Kamalova, described him as a “smart, beautiful, peaceful boy who was always helping his family.”
The Mavlonov family had relocated from Uzbekistan to Brooklyn twelve years ago.
“We were always proud of him,” she said through tears. “My grandson should be the last one to die like this. God will judge.”
Adams embraced the teen’s tearful father, Firdavs Mavlonov, and led the casket procession into the memorial service during which he said it was the obligation of those present to “take this painful moment and turn it into a purposeful moment.”
Addressing mourners, Adams said there are too many guns on New York City streets, and that anyone who did not agree with that statement ought to “be here at this funeral, watching this young child that we are burying because of gun violence in our city.”
“We have a young baby here that was prematurely taken from us. And when the bullet hit his body, the emotional pathway continued throughout our entire community. We are now feeling the emotional trauma of that bullet,” he said. “We can’t remain silent while the loud sounds of gunshots are taking our children away night after night.”
While the city has seen a 23.2% drop in shooting incidents through the first quarter of 2023 when compared to the same period last year, youth involvement in shooting incidents — as perpetrators and victims — has risen by over 70% since 2017.
“What must we do? I say let’s turn that question mark into an exclamation point. We must stand up. We must enter our communities, we must partner with our clergy or faith leaders, our political leaders, our law enforcement community,” the mayor said in closing. “We must save our children, we’re losing too much and too many. I am renewed in my spirit of this painful moment to turn it into a purposeful moment to stop the violence that we’re witnessing.”
Speaking of the tragedy, Kagan told Brooklyn Paper “no one should lose their life like this, just walking down the street in New York City.”
“We need to teach our young folks the value of life, every life is precious. This is a tragedy for everybody, not just Uzbek or Muslim community, for everyone.”
Kagan said that the suspect in the case, understood to be a 17-year-old and fellow summer school student, needed to be held accountable and face justice.
The homicide investigation into Faridun’s killing is still ongoing, with police believing that the 15-year-old was not the intended target.