The grandma of tragic little Davell Gardner Jr. on Friday praised the bust of his accused killer but said it also took her back to when she held the tot’s lifeless body — as she issued a heartbreaking plea.
“[The violence] needs to stop because too many people are getting hurt. You got innocent bystanders getting hurt by it. It needs to stop,” Samantha Gardner told The Post by phone from her Brooklyn home.
The grandmother said Thursday’s news of the arrest of alleged gangbanger Dashawn Austin, 25, in the stray-bullet slaying of her 1-year-old grandson at a cookout in Bedford-Stuyvesant in July 2020 was bittersweet because she had to relive that night.
“It brought me right back to day when they pronounced [Davell] dead, and I just held him, just crying all over him, you know, and he couldn’t feel me, he couldn’t hear me, he couldn’t see me,” the baby’s grandmother said.
“I’m holding my dead grandson … I kissed him. I said, ‘Why, why did they do this to you?’ And I said, ‘Grandma will always love you.’”
Gardner railed against the current frightening atmosphere in some parts of the city because of such violence.
“You should be able to go out in the park, but guess what? It’s not like it used to be years and years ago when the people in the neighborhood were together and everybody was united as one — you know, family-setting type-stuff,” she told The Post.
“Things have changed.”
As for Austin’s arrest, “it’s justice for my grandson — and it’s just the beginning,” Gardner said. “I say that because there was a lot of individuals that had part into my grandson’s death.”
The grandmother said she plans to attend court hearings for Austin to make sure justice carried out for her grandson, who she remembered as a kind-hearted boy who loved apples.
“He just loved eating his apples under my table. Sometimes it hurts when I go get apples because, you know, because I know he loved the apples so I always made sure I kept apples in my house for him,” she said.