A former basketball standout at Newburgh Free Academy and close friend of the Newburgh mayor was among three people shot during a sequence of violent events early Saturday morning and the only one to die.
NFA 2018 graduate Cherod 'Hot Rod' Gayle, 20, died shortly after being shot at least once.
Several neighbors were heartbroken -- but not surprised -- over the mayhem that began just before 4:00am on Robinson Avenue near Delano-Hitch Park.
Police first went to Robinson Ave. after receiving a notification through Shotspotter, a system that uses sensors to notify police of any gunshots fired within the city limits.
Police said that at the Robinson Ave. location, two men -- Anthony Burden and Dejon Jones, both 28 -- were shot and taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
While at the first location, police received another Shotspotter notification from a few blocks away.
Police said they found Gayle in the area of Carson Avenue and Bridge Street, suffering from at least one gunshot wound.
Gayle died a short time later at the hospital.
Mayor Torrance Harvey -- a close friend of the Gayle family -- is calling on residents to control their anger and not to retaliate.
"We must communicate with our young people," Mayor Harvey wrote in a text, "We must resolve our conflicts with words. A temporary emotion and decision shouldn't be a permanent consequence or conclusion for anyone."
Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP) CEO Michele McKeon said her anti-poverty and anti-violence agency has been in contact with the mayor and city manager to discuss ways to prevent retaliation to this past weekend's violence.
"Let's not do retaliation," McKeon said. "Let's figure out how to have a different response to violence, which slowly begins to change community norms."
The circumstances of the shooting are unclear and police have not identified any suspects.
Anyone with information is asked to call the City of Newburgh Police Department immediately at 845-561-3131.
Below is the full statement sent via text by Mayor Harvey on the death of Cherod 'Hot Rod' Gayle.
"Cherod Gayle was like a nephew to me. It’s hard for me to function. My condolences go out to his mom and dad. His mom NEVER missed a game he played. My son Armani played with Cherod on traveling basketball teams, The Newburgh Panthers, and the Newburgh Free Academy teams. Cherod was on Varsity and my y son was on JV, so his family and my family were at many games together cheering the boys on. Whenever 'Hot Rod' stepped on the basketball court we ALL knew we were in for some razzle dazzles. We could be down by 40 points. -- If Hot Rod did a slam dunk the entire gym would go crazy! His young twin brothers have played in my backyard court and next door to my neighbor’s house too. So we are truly hurt over any loss of life in our city. This situation hits home. This is PTSD for us all. Hot Rod will live in my spirit forever. He always respected me and adults in our community. My prayers go out to the other young men involved in this and to their families as well. We love NEWBURGH. We must communicate with our young people. We must resolve our conflicts with words. A temporary emotion and decision shouldn’t be a permanent consequence or conclusion for anyone. God bless our community. It will take a long time to heal. Jesus help us."