Seniors under siege

An Eyewitness News Exclusive
March 5, 2009 9:51:38 PM PST
The man is a menace, claim elderly seniors. A menace who shouldn't even be living in their seniors only building. The senior tenants of a rental building in the Bronx say they're living in constant fear because of one man.

"What do you have to say to tenants who claims you're terrorizing them," I asked.

"They can kiss my (bleep bleep?..)," he responded.

It's this type of cursing tirade that has senior citizens at the Nickerson Arms apartments in the Bronx terrified when they see 39-yearold Gerald Montgomery lurking in their lobby.

"He was undressing, pulling clothes off and he proceeded to lie down in the hallway," one tenant said.

Mary White says just three nights ago, she was sitting in her apartment with her son when Montgomery actually opened her door. She has no idea how he got a key, or what she would have done had she been alone.

Residents say for the past few years, Montgomery has lived upstairs with his mother, even though it is a seniors-only building, and his mental condition has gotten increasingly worse.

"We feel we're terrorized," one resident said.

And the elderly tenants aren't alone. The building is managed by the non-profit Bronx Shepherds Restoration Corporation, a faith-based group.

"He's illegally here. We are trying to take him to court and trying to get rid of him. His mother is incapable of taking care of him herself," Paula Jenkins said.

"It's ongoing. Every time we get him out, the mother lets him back in," Debbie Thomas added. "We're trying to evict him, but it would have to be the whole family that goes." They all say they've repeatedly called police about Montgomery. One recent photo shows a trail of blood in the hallway after he allegedly beat up his girlfriend. She denied it.

Montgomery was out of it on Wednesday when we tried to talk to him in the family's apartment, even his girlfriend couldn't wake him up.

But hours later, he was awake and residents say he was threatening them again.

"He was wandering around half-naked," Martha Othello said. "We spoke to him and told him to get his clothes on and then he cursed at us."

A spokesman for the NYPD acknowledges there have been calls here, but that responding cops have not been able to link Montgomery to any crimes. They say since he verified he lives here, they can't force him out.

So while the management goes through a potentially lengthy court process to get Montgomery and his family evicted, residents are forced to request double locks on their doors, and pray.