‘His family does not have peace’: Vigil held in Syracuse for Jamesville teenager killed by police
Syracuse, NY – When protesters entered Firefighter’s Memorial Park Wednesday night, they sang along with the growing crowd.
“Justice for Judson,” the demonstrators sang.
The crowd, which eventually grew to around 60, held a candlelight vigil for Judson Albahm, 17, from Jamesville. Judson was fatally shot and killed by police on Apulia Road last Thursday afternoon after police claimed he had aimed an air pistol designed to look like Glock at them.
Several community leaders and activists called for better psychiatric care and a change in the way police treat children and those diagnosed with mental disorders. Judson was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder and Asperger’s syndrome, according to a Facebook vigil event on Wednesday.
After the vigil, the participants marched to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Some speakers targeted the hospital’s comprehensive emergency psychiatric program, which had a mobile crisis team at Judson’s home prior to his shooting.
“The family had made countless attempts to seek help from Judson,” said Joshua Michael King, a longtime friend of Judson’s mother. “That happened to me. I can relate to the mental health obstacles that Judson faced. His family has no peace. “
King helped organize the vigil after talking to Carissa Albahm, Judson’s mother.
A rosary in the shape of a cross and photos of Judson marked “Justice for Judson” were hung on the back of a statue in the park.
When attendees were asked to remain silent for 17 seconds in honor of Judson’s 17 years, organizers handed out white candles and white roses.
Hassan Bloodworth, who also spoke during the vigil, shared his fears about how these events could happen to his family.
“We have to stand with Judson,” said Bloodworth. “I have a son with autism, and I might as well have been with Judson’s father. We have to love and support each other. “
After the first part of the vigil, about 20 cars and a small group of protesters drove nearly a mile down State Street to gather at the Butternut Street entrance of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center.
Two rows of cars with flashing turn signals blocked a lane of Butternut Street as more protesters spoke just outside the sign for St. Joseph’s Hospital.
A few security guards from the hospital were also posted at the entrance.
A young girl who identified only as Maggie said she was a close friend of Judson and spoke to him the day before he died.
“I couldn’t help him,” she said.
Many of the participants in the vigil were parents, such as Wendy Fitzgerald from Syracuse, who also works in the care system and regularly interacts with children with mental disorders.
“This could have been my family,” said Fitzgerald, who has a son on the autism spectrum. “I have a lot of respect for law enforcement, but I know that something has to change in my heart.”
Staff writer James McClendon covers the breaking news, crime and public safety. Do you have a tip, story idea, question or comment? Reach him at 914-204-2815 or [email protected]