Alphonza Bryant III was already enrolled in college when he was shot and killed on a Bronx street close to his home.

Alphonza Bryant III was already enrolled in college when he was shot and killed on a Bronx street close to his home.

In April, Alphonza Bryant III, 17, was looking forward to his senior prom, graduation, and college. But then in what police say was a case of mistaken identity, this popular teen was gunned down while standing with his friends on a Bronx street just a few blocks from his home.

Alphonza–a senior at the Urban Assembly Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists–was headed in the fall to the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College at the City University of New York.

The gang members that allegedly killed Alphonza with one bullet to the chest fired nine bullets at him and his friends. The bullets were apparently meant for a different group of young men, those from a rival gang. In a sad coincidence, Alphonza’s father was also the victim of gun violence, also shot and killed on a Bronx street, when Alphonza was just four years old.

According to The New York Times, five days before he was killed, Alphonza had written a class essay in which he eagerly anticipated the next four years. “This is my dream because nobody in my family went to college,” he wrote. “And I plan on being the first.”

Guns are one of the top three causes of death among American youth. Gun violence still plagues many New York communities and it’s easy for young people to obtain illegal guns. While New York has strict gun laws, more than 2/3 of traced crime guns originated from states outside of New York–mostly from states with weak gun laws–so stricter federal gun laws would help reduce the amount of guns on the street.

NYAGV’s Education Fund conducts youth programs for teens in violence-prone communities.  Find out more about these programs and how you can help NYAGV reduce youth gun violence.