NEW YORK - Gun violence continued across New York City over the July 4th holiday weekend with 64 people shot and 11 people dead.
The NYPD held a news conference on Monday afternoon to address the surge of violence that has been growing for the past month across the city. Police statistics show that murders are up 23% in the first 6 months of 2020 versus the same period in 2019. There were 181 murders in the first six months compared to 147 the previous year.
In June there were 205 shooting incidents in New York City. There were only 89 in June 2019, an increase of 130%.
On Sunday alone, a 23-year-old man died at Mount Sinai Saint Luke’s Hospital after being shot in the back, a 29-year-old man died after being shot on the chest on East 170th Street in the Claremont section of Bronx just before 6 p.m., and a 21-year-old man died after he was shot in the chest on Christopher Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
The NYPD was not spared the gun violence after a bullet struck the windshield of a marked police vehicle Saturday with two officers inside in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The bullet penetrated the front windshield, causing the glass to shatter and injure one of the officers, while the other complained of a ringing sensation in her ear.
It is unknown if the officers were being targeted and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The shooting coincided with the anniversary of the killing of Detective Miosotis Familia, in 2017.
The violence sweeping the city is the result of a mix of actions, like new bail reform laws along with the disbanding of the anti-crime unit, according to Republican City Councilman Joe Borelli.
“Criminals know that police are going to be less aggressive in going after this type of street crime, so they feel a little bit emboldened,” said Republican City Councilman Joe Borelli. “We used to think that maybe a 10 or 20 percent rise would be something to worry about, and yet you have weekends where the year to year week rate is up 200 or 300 percent,” Borelli said. “So this is not just some isolated incident causing some public panic, this is a systemic rise in crime around New York City.”
Community activist Tony Herbert says that Police Commissioner Dermot Shea may have bent over too far in his response to calls for police reform when he cut the plainclothes anti-crime unit, a division responsible for getting guns off the street.
“I get why it was done, but at the end of the day, I don’t think the police commissioner should have succumbed to political pressure,” Herbert said. “We need something to safeguard us as New Yorkers and the anti X unit was valuable to getting that source of information out so that we can be protected.”
Brooklyn Borough President and Democrat Eric Adams says that young people having fewer things to do to occupy their time during a pandemic is part of the issue, but is also blaming the dismantling of the anti-crime unit and says that urgent action must be taken before shooting incidents rise even higher.
“To take away anti-crime altogether, you’re saying to those who traditionally carry guns as long as you don’t see a blue and white police vehicle, then you can go around doing dangerous action. That’s not a good mix,” Adams said.
On Saturday, two NYPD officers were injured after a bullet narrowly missed them in Brooklyn. Three men were killed in the borough within five hours of each other.
Just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, police discovered a 20-year-old man who had been fatally shot in the chest in front of a home on Atkins Avenue in East New York.
The man was taken to Brookdale Hospital for treatment but was pronounced dead.
Then, around 4:20 a.m. in East Flatbush, a 19-year-old was also shot in the chest and a 27-year-old man was shot in the left shoulder on East 39th Street.
Both victims were rushed to King County Hospital for treatment, where the teenager was pronounced dead. The 27-year-old is listed in stable condition.
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Finally, just after 5 a.m., a 40-year-old man was fatally shot in the chest on Sutter Avenue in Brownsville.
The victim was also taken to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
No arrests have been made in all three shootings and police are still investigating.
There was also a police-involved shooting in Queens when authorities say an officer shot at a suspect when the suspect pointed a firearm at police. The suspect was struck by gunfire and was taken into custody.
The shootings come after a violent June, with 205 shootings marking the city’s bloodiest June since 1996, when the NYPD logged 236 shootings.