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Boys and Girls Club helping students process shooting of 11-year-old

A man stands on the side of the road with a sign that says "OG's Against Violence."
Scott Willis
A man holds a sign that speaks out against gun violence following the shooting death of Brexialee Torres-Ortiz, Jan. 17, 2023.

Syracuse community members are still grieving the death of 11-year-old Brexialee Torres-Ortiz, a middle school honors student and class president who was killed earlier this week in a drive-by shooting that police say was targeting another person nearby.

As authorities continue to investigate, students that attend a Girls and Boys Club site located three blocks from the homicide are receiving counseling support.

Stacey Bailey, director of Central Village Boys and Girls Club in Syracuse, said she is inviting counselors to the facility to help the students heal and feel heard.

“I have people that can talk to the kids, because we need to listen to the kids at this point. It's not about what we can do as an individual. It's about what we can do collectively,” Bailey said.

Police are still searching for the suspect or suspects behind the shooting. Officials are encouraging the public to share any information or submit anonymous tips on their website, through the Syracuse PD app or by texting tipsyr to 847411.

Tarryn Mento is an award-winning digital, audio and video journalist with experience reporting from Arizona, Southern California, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Tarryn produces in-depth and investigative content for WAER while overseeing the station's student reporter experience. She is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University.