Forty-four people were shot last weekend in the city including 16 who were shot during a 90-minute period. Focus continues to be put on funding anti-violence organizations and targeting the “iron pipeline” of illegal guns getting into neighborhoods.
Among the number of shootings that occurred last weekend, a mass shooting in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn has community leaders outraged. Police say two men fired shots into a crowd of about 150 people who were listening to music at Roosevelt Houses on Dekalb Avenue. Other reports indicate the event was a music video shooting.
According to the NYPD, the shooting occurred after midnight on Monday where eight people were hit. The victims reportedly ranged in age between 18 and 27 and consisted of five women and three men. All of the victims are expected to survive. One gun was received at the scene and no arrests have been made.
Last Friday, 15 people were shot in 11 separate incidents across the city. Among the victims was 21-year-old Jayquan Lewis who was fatally shot inside of a deli in Fordham in the Bronx. In Queens, 24-year-old Anthony Ali was fatally shot after he got into an argument over a car accident in Richmond Hill with another man. No arrests have been made in either case.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea continues to blame the rise in crime on bail reform laws he says allows violent suspects to be freed after being arrested.
“We’re down in shootings in June, we were down in July, I expect that we’re gonna be down from last year in August, but the same ranks true that even though we’re down, we still have a long way to go,” Shea said in one report.
During his Monday daily press briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio said there are more gun arrests in the city but real change with how crime is handled will take time.
“We’re at the highest level of gun arrests in 25 years, more cooperation between NYPD and community to get the information that PD needs for those prosecutions, the work of the violence interrupters, all these pieces have been working,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to apply them constantly and, yes, move officers constantly to where they’re needed most. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen.”
It’s been a month and half since Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency over gun violence in New York State. The declaration creates the office of Gun Violence Prevention to coordinate efforts and direct resources to emerging gun violence hot spots. It also invests $138.7 million in intervention, prevention, and jobs programs to engage at-risk youth.
Since Cuomo resigned last week, no plans have been announced about the initiative moving forward as Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul begins her transition to governor.
A.T. Mitchell is the founder and executive director of anti-violence organization Man Up! Inc. and says the funding can’t come soon enough.
“What’s happening is that there is a bright light that’s being shined upon an issue, and a problem that’s been around for a very long time,” Mitchell said. “We prepare ourselves for the summer months because we know that this is the season that when it gets hot outside, people are agitated, and they plot and plan through this type of recklessness.”
Mitchell added that the NYPD should be focused on the influx of firearms coming into neighborhoods through the iron pipeline rather than mass arrests and incarceration.
On Tuesday, Mitchell mobilized 25 city-wide organizations from the Cure Violence Global and NYC Crisis Management System to denounce the shooting at Roosevelt Houses. The group marched peacefully from there to Marcy Houses, where another shooting claimed the lives of two people days earlier.
A plot to get guns into the city through the iron pipeline was foiled earlier this month. The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted nine people in an interstate gun trafficking scheme that transported guns from Georgia to New York City.
From August 2020 to April 2021, the defendants used a Georgia resident as a straw purchaser to buy at least 87 firearms from at least six federal firearms licensees in Georgia. Over the course of the scheme, the defendant completed approximately 30 different transactions.
Law enforcement successfully intercepted firearms being transported by the defendants before they reached New York. In November 2020, law enforcement in South Carolina stopped a bus in Wellford, S.C. where they seized five firearms and several magazines that were being transported in a backpack.
Those involved in the scheme could face between five and 10 years in federal prison.