Gun violence overshadowed the fireworks and hotdogs this Independence Day as more than 50 New Yorkers were shot during the Fourth of July weekend, a 62.5% increase from last year. Despite the tragedy-filled holiday, Mayor Eric Adams remains committed to the city’s “Summer Violence Strategy” to get guns off the street.
“Since we instituted our plan, we’re seeing a decrease in shooting, decrease in homicides,” said Adams at a Tuesday afternoon press briefing. “We’re seeing a 30 year high in gun arrest[s]—so our plan, which we are constantly modifying, constantly shifting, is moving in the direction that we want it to move into.”
Adams and the NYPD went into the three-day weekend with a gameplan—officers working around the clock, with increased police presence in violent crime hotspots and support from the city’s network of cameras feeding surveillance to the state-of-the-art Joint Security Operations Center in Brooklyn. Despite the preparation, gun violence consumed the weekend. Twenty-one people were shot just on the Fourth of July. Three are dead.
62-year-old veteran John Edwards was shot and killed in the Bronx from inadvertent gunfire. Two other men are dead after a shootout at an East New York bodega.
Gun violence is hardly unique to New York City this weekend. The Fourth of July parade mass shooting in Chicago suburb Highland Park headlined the national conversation. But it was just one of three high-profile gun violence incidents in “Chicagoland.” Five people were shot 12 hours earlier in the city’s South Side and three people were killed at a holiday block party in Gary, Ind.
Even before the Fourth of July weekend, New York City was reeling from an outbreak of high profile gun-violence incidents. This past Wednesday, 20-year-old Azsia Johnson was shot and killed while pushing her 3-month-old daughter in a stroller. Two weeks ago, college basketball player Darius Lee was shot and killed in Harlem.
Adams remains confident in his administration’s efforts to combat gun violence.
“We saw what happened outside the city of Chicago…so this national problem is played out on our streets,” said Adams. “We are making the right adjustments, we’re moving in the right direction and we’re going to win this battle. And I think that once we bring down crime to the level that we know it is, people are all of a sudden going to take notice to see all of the things that this administration is doing, but we’ve got to do it through crime first.”
Tandy Lau is a Report for America corps member and writes about public safety for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w