Four shot on L.E.S.; Not gang-related, police say

By Lincoln Anderson

Gunfire on two nights last week on the Lower East Side left several residents wounded and neighbors shaken.

The first incident occurred in front of 40 Madison St. outside Knickerbocker Village on Tues., Oct. 14, right after midnight. A male, age 32, was walking at the location when he was struck by bullets. He was treated at Bellevue Hospital, and was reported in stable condition. According to police, the victim said he didn’t see who shot him. There is no description of a suspect or suspects.

In the second incident, on Wed., Oct. 15, at 7:15 p.m., in front of 7 St. James Place in the Alfred E. Smith Houses, police said, a verbal dispute escalated between two men. One of them, identified by police as Orlando Lugo, 25, then opened fire with a gun, striking the other man, age 24; as well as a girl, age 15, in the hand; and a woman, age 42. All three victims were treated at the hospital and released.

The man who police say was wounded by Lugo is saying he doesn’t know who shot him, but police plan to question him again. Lugo remains at large.

City Councilmember Alan Gerson, whose district covers the Smith Houses and Knickerbocker Village, which are located just north of the Brooklyn Bridge, has been trying to find out more information about the shootings and beef up police presence to deter further violence. Gerson informed The Villager that police told him the shootings may be part of some kind of gang warfare between the nearby Vladeck Houses and the LaGuardia Houses, both New York City Housing Authority projects.

But Detective Joe Cavitolo, a police spokesperson, said, as of now, police don’t believe the two shooting incidents on separate days are related. As for the second shooting, he said, “There’s no indication that this is gang-related. It looks like this is a dispute between two individuals.”

Gerson expressed concern that there is only one police car now patrolling the Lower East Side projects in his council district, when a few years ago there were two or three.

“We’re down to one car for all the NYCHA projects,” he said. “We’re going to demand an action plan from police.”

Although the projects have security video cameras on key buildings identified by tenants, more security cameras are needed, Gerson said. Additional youth outreach to combat drugs and gangs must also be done, he said. And tenant patrols that are inactive must be reactivated in many of the buildings, he added.