Twenty-two-year old Idrissa Siby was fatally shot between W. 44th Street and 8th Avenue last Thursday, Feb. 9, marking the first gun-related homicide near Times Square since the tourist destination was designated as a “gun-free zone” last October. Police were still searching for the Bronx resident’s killer as of Feb. 15. 

But deadly New York City gun violence expanded far beyond the bright lights of Midtown Manhattan over the past week: 

A man was fatally shot in Canarsie last Monday. He was reportedly a 20-year-old Brooklynite, although the NYPD has yet to confirm his identity. 

31-year-old Marquis Lane was fatally shot in Morrisania this past Tuesday, Feb. 7. 

49-year-old Jason Andrades was fatally shot last Thursday morning in the NYCHA Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, according to the NYPD. 

Last Friday, Feb. 10, mother Michelle Smith reportedly lost her two sons—Jeremiah, 24 and Devren, 37—in a deadly shooting in the Bronx neighborhood of East Tremont. Two other men were shot but are in stable condition, according to the NYPD. 

This past Saturday, 42-year-old Alfred Johnson was fatally shot in Central Harlem off 125th Street. 

Also last Saturday, police found a 27-year-old man was found in Parkchester dead with a gunshot wound. 

“Since day one, public safety has been our top priority, which is why the NYPD is working every day to remove guns from our streets, protect our communities, and create a safe, prosperous, and just city for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Eric Adams in an email statement. “Unfortunately, the kinds of brazen shootings we witnessed this weekend are still all too common in our city and reducing crime in the city won’t happen overnight, but thanks to the NYPD’s efforts, both homicides and shootings continue to trend downward this year as they did last year, and we continue to remove illegal guns from the street every day. 

“Until every New Yorker is safe, there will always still be work left to do, but we are taking some of the biggest actions in years to protect New Yorkers. We will never stop fighting to protect the residents of this city and to dam the many rivers that feed the sea of gun violence.”

Adams is referencing the most recent citywide crime statistics, which show—year-to-date—a 20.9% decrease in shooting incidents over last year. However, a decrease in gun violence in the Bronx looks very different from an increase in Midtown Manhattan. 

The NYPD’s 48th Precinct, where the Smith brothers were killed, is down 57.1% in shootings compared to 2022—but there were already seven shootings by Feb. 12 last year, so three incidents, year-to-date, is a significant decrease, even if those numbers probably mean nothing to a grieving mother like Michelle Smith. 

Meanwhile, the shooting near Times Square was the first recorded incident and homicide in the NYPD’s Midtown South Precinct this year, and one more—as of Feb. 12—compared to 2022. 

More than 90% of residents in the Belmont and East Tremont neighborhood identify as Black or brown as recently as 2019, according to the NYU Furman Center. Over half of the Times Square neighborhood’s residents identify as white and Times Square saw around 200,000 people on average visit each day last February. 

To be clear, the city’s gun-free zones are used to enforce concealed-carry bans in vulnerable areas where crossfire and collateral damage are likely. But the Amsterdam News spoke with public safety experts last month who said registered firearms are used nominally in New York City shootings. The number is probably so small that data isn’t kept and readily available, given the overwhelming prevalence of illegal firearms, including “ghost guns.” It is unknown whether the weapons used in this past week’s fatal shootings were registered.

The Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which includes the gun-free zone designations, was enacted after the Bruen Supreme Court decision, which struck down a century-old state gun control law. This new law is also facing similar legal challenges, although the same United States Supreme Court recently upheld New York’s ability to have gun-free zones during litigation. 
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 of any amount today by visiting https://bit.ly/amnews1.

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