NEW YORK - As a disturbing spate of shootings continues to rattle New York City, the mayor and the police commissioner called on the state to reopen some courts so that the backlog of gun and shootings cases could be eased.
Twelve people were shot Monday including a man struck while visiting the memorial of two shooting victims in a playground on Vermont Avenue in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, according to police. The 22-year-old man was shot in the left shoulder at about 10:30 p.m. He was taken to Brookdale Hospital in stable condition. The gunman in both incidents remains on the loose.
The NYPD is also looking for the person who shot and killed a 22-year-old man in East Flatbush at around 6 p.m. About an hour earlier there was another shooting in the Laurelton section of Queens.
This comes as dozens of people were shot over a bloody weekend in New York City in which several victims were killed, including two teenagers at the playground.
The 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were playing basketball when someone shot and killed them, the NYPD said. A 17-year-old was shot in the leg and was in stable condition, police said. The NYPD released a security camera video that shows the shooting.
A gunman "opened fire while hanging out of the sunroof of a late model Honda CRV at George Walker Jr. Park," Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted. "The perpetrator struck three people, killing two innocent teenagers playing basketball."
Police identified the victims as Antonio Villa, 18, and Kleimer Mendez, 16, both of Brooklyn. They were shot in the head, cops said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted late Sunday: "This is heartbreaking. His life was just beginning." He added, "Sending my thoughts and prayers to the families of these boys. No parent should ever have to bury a child."
On Monday, the mayor said he sent a letter to the city's five district attorneys and the state's chief judge calling on all parties to work together to reopen the courts.
"So, the bottom line is our criminal justice system needs to get back to full strength. Our courts not only need to reopen, they need to reopen fully as quickly as possible," de Blasio said. "A striking reality that there's a huge backlog when it comes to cases involving violent crime—only 50% of firearms charges have even gotten to the point of indictment."
An official with the Office of Court Administration strongly pushed back at the mayor's comments, saying that the agency is indeed working to reopen the courts amid the pandemic.
"While New York City still does not allow indoor dining, the Mayor blithely asks us to call in thousands of people a week Citywide for jury duty," Lucian Chalfen said in a statement emailed to FOX 5 NY. "Clearly he has absolutely no understanding of how the criminal justice process works."
In Flatbush, a 32-year-old man was shot in the face and chest in the area of East 16th Street on Sunday. He later died.
Seven people were killed on Sunday alone. Police reported another fatal shooting on Monday. The shootings were part of a surge in gun violence in New York City.
Since July 19, murders were up 24 percent in the city while shootings were up 69% from the same time period a year earlier.