Shootings spike: Vigil held in Brooklyn amid NYC gun violence surge

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Vigil held in Brooklyn amid surge in gun violence
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held a vigil Wednesday to honor victims of recent shootings amid a surge in gun violence across New York City, calling for a community response to the recent spike.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held a vigil Wednesday to honor victims of recent shootings amid a surge in gun violence across New York City, calling for a community response to the recent spike.

Adams stood alongside anti-violence advocates and mothers who have lost children.

At the vigil, 101 pairs of shoes and a casket were laid out to represent the 101 shooting victims in 74 incidents that took place over the past week throughout the city.

RELATED: 7 On Your Side Investigates reasons behind uptick in NYC gun violence

Nearly all of the victims were people of color, with police blaming gang violence and a number of other factors for the dramatic increase.

Black Lives Matter reiterated that all black lives matter, not just those who are killed at the hands of police, and advocates and community leaders are trying to turn pain into purpose.

"I am so sick and tired of our communities bleeding," said Natasha Christopher, mother of a shooting victim. "When will enough be enough?"

Some of the initiatives discussed include a gang summit, meetings with precinct commanders, and a social media campaign to educate parents.

Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted the NYPD has not abandoned precision policing during these unprecedented times.

"It's all underlied by all the problems created by the pandemic, and the absences of the functioning court system," de Blasio said. "But the NYPD continues to move resources where they're needed and come up with new strategies."

According to statistics from the NYPD, murders have risen by 23% over the same period last year, while shootings have gone up by 46%.

Adams, the mothers of those lost to gun violence, and the advocates called for a community-led response to the gun violence crisis in tandem with a sustained commitment by the NYPD to fair, equitable policing.

Police say that since Friday, at least 12 people were killed in roughly 50 shootings across all five boroughs.

On Tuesday, a 27-year-old man was found dead just before noon near the tennis court in Lincoln Terrace Park, located at East New York Avenue and Buffalo Avenue in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

Detectives are looking for a man last seen wearing a black tank top and black shorts who fled eastbound on East New York Avenue in a white Chrysler. No gun was recovered, and no arrests were made.

Police also released a picture of a bullet and a bullet hole in the wall of a little girl's bedroom in Harlem from random gunfire on the Fourth of July.

Gunfire also struck three vehicles and at least one other front door, but luckily, the girl was not home at the time of the 3:20 p.m. shooting and no one was injured

Authorities say 31-year-old Dawon Brown was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.

Also Tuesday, a 15-year-old male was shot in the lower back on Mapes Avenue in the Bronx around 3:30 p.m.

He was rushed to Jacobi's Pediatric Center and is expected to survive, but he is not cooperating with police at this time.

Two suspects between 15 and 20 years old, one armed with a silver gun and one with what appeared to be a black semi automatic, fled northbound on Prospect Avenue on a Revel scooter.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea also blamed jail reforms and the release of prisoners from Rikers due to coronavirus.

The count on shootings was more than double this June compared to last year -- 205 in 2020 vs. 89 in 2019.

The NYPD and prosecutors are calling on the community to help as they search for the many gun violence suspects.

Calling the amount of violence in the city this weekend unacceptable, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said they are working to get guns off the street but added that rhetoric from a small majority of people is hurting police. He says that when officers go to make arrests, people are ready to fight them.

He also said a new law banning chokeholds is worded so poorly that officers are afraid of making arrests.

"They are afraid if they're making an arrest, that if their knee goes on the back of someone that they're fighting their life, for that they can be prosecuted," he said. "That's a problem."

The city's main jail complex emptied due to coronavirus, and Shea said that population was "transplanted" to the streets.

"Look at the Rikers population of the last year, it's about half," he said. "Where is that other half right now? We've transplanted the general population to the streets of New York City, and it's extremely frustrating."

While the NYPD has made approximately 40,000 fewer overall arrests so far this year compared with last year, gun arrests year-to-date as of July 5 are 1,679 vs. 1,683 last year.

"The sharp increase in shootings and violence in New York puts innocent people at risk and tears at the fabric of life in our city," Shea said. "The challenges are great for an NYPD facing the strain of deep budget cuts, changes to the criminal justice system that are impacting the courts and the continuing international health pandemic. But through it all, I have seen our hardworking men and women display an unwavering commitment to the kind of fair and effective policing that defines our agency and that New Yorkers expect and deserve."


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