Slain Brooklyn 13-year-old’s mom speaks out for first time, rejects ‘gang’ imputation

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The mother of the 13-year-old boy recently shot to death on his way home from a Brooklyn Nets game publicly spoke out for the first time on Monday, remembering her son as a bighearted boy and rejecting any suggestion that he was in a gang.

“He was a 13-year-old boy,” Troy Gill’s mother, Mary Culbertson, said through tears on Monday night. “He was a baby and that should’ve never happened to him or anyone else’s baby. He did not deserve that.”

Troy Gill, 13, was shot and killed while walking home from a Brooklyn Nets game on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024.Troy Gill, 13, was shot and killed while walking home from a Brooklyn Nets game on Thursday.

Troy was walking alone near the corner of New York Ave. and Bergen Ave. in Crown Heights around 10:40 p.m. Thursday when a gunman fired off shots, hitting the boy repeatedly in the chest and arm, according to police.

Right afterwards, the young victim called his mother for help and told her he was running toward the nearby Brooklyn Children’s Museum, cops said.

Troy collapsed two blocks from where he was shot. Medics soon discovered the mortally wounded teen on the pavement and rushed him to Kings County Hospital, but he could not be saved.

“There are no words,” said Troy’s stepfather, Joseph Ward. “Parents shouldn’t have to bury their kids. It’s a nightmare.”

Detectives investigating the slaying linked the teen to the Trench Crew, a Bedford-Stuyvesant and northern Brooklyn street gang, though the boy’s involvement with the group wasn’t immediately disclosed.

Troy’s mother adamantly denied any suggestion he was involved in a gang.

“He was not in a gang,” said Cubertson, 41. “He was a great boy.”

Ward echoed the sentiment, insisting he wants “to change the narrative for Troy.”

“He loved to dance,” said Ward, 47. “He did James Brown and Michael Jackson impressions.”

The boy’s heartbroken mother Troy as a friend to everyone.

“When I say everybody, it doesn’t matter who you were, where you were — he was your friend,” she said through tears. “I feel like that’s almost the reason why this happened, because somebody felt that he shouldn’t be friends with one person because they didn’t like that person.”

Troy was killed just shy of his 14th birthday, according to his stepfather.

“He had a big personality and he was too big to be here,” said Culbertson. “He’s gone but his spirit is here and he will always live on through all of us.”

Troy lived with his mother, stepfather and two siblings in their Crown Heights apartment, where dozens gathered to remember the youth Monday evening.

“This is real,” said Ward, motioning toward a large makeshift memorial. “It’s a sad reminder but a reminder that he was loved.

“He was tiny but mighty,” the man added. “The earth was his turf.”

Police are still working to track down the gunman who killed Troy.

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