Mott Haven street to be renamed for Naiesha Pearson

Naiesha Pearson

Brook Ave. and 139th St. in Mott Haven will be renamed for Naiesha Pearson, the 10-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet in September 2005 while attending a family barbecue at the Saw Mill Playground.

The renaming ceremony is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 31, at noon.

Pearson was hit by a bullet fired by Rene Bonilla, then 20. After firing, Bonilla was chased into a nearby building by Pearson’s family members and others at the barbecue, and was injured trying to escape. Bonilla had brought a gun to the playground to settle a dispute with another man, whom he also wounded in the shooting.

Bonilla was convicted of murder in 2007, and is serving a sentence of 50 years to life.

“If we keep on like this we won’t have a future,” a tearful Taesha Pearson, Naiesha’s mother, told a crowd of several hundred at a Mott Haven march against gun violence in 2009. “Our kids will be gone, and then what will we have?”

Crowds of hundreds have come out to march in Mott Haven’s annual Mother’s Day March Against Gun Violence rally in recent years, including surviving family members of shooting victims and elected officials who have come to speak out for gun control.