Three people were shot dead and another man was wounded in separate shootings citywide Friday night into Saturday, police officials said.
One of those killed was a father of two, shot point-blank in the face and neck as he walked home from his porter job last night in front of a Crown Heights church.
The shooting deaths are a continuation of the city-wide gun violence that has racked parts of the city since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in a more than 40 % increase in murders and 70 % increase in shootings over the year before.
A variety of reasons are blamed for the increase including a proliferation of guns being brought in from southern states, evidenced from an arrest last week in Queens of three men importing handguns from Virginia. Also blamed by police is the failure of the court system to operate and indict those arrested for guns, the release of Rikers Island prisoners during the pandemic, and release of those committing crimes under bail reform.
Another reason given by police has been the ongoing gang warfare that was sparked by the arrest of five people in California several weeks earlier for the murder of Canarsie born rapper Pop Smoke, a known member of the Crips gang.
Others blame lack of jobs, the closing of schools, and general anger among young people who have been unable to attend their entertainment venues, bars, and gatherings because of social distancing requirements. The mayor and police commissioner have called the current crime situation “a perfect storm,” with the results being numerous people dead and wounded around the city.
Here is a rundown of the latest shootings:
July 24. 5:10 p.m. –A 24-year-old man was shot in the left thigh in front of 8608 Avenue M in Canarsie. He was rushed to Brookdale University Medical Center, accompanied by a young woman, where he was last listed in stable condition.
Police from the 69th Precinct closed off Avenue M to preserve at least three spent shells found in the middle of the avenue. It was unclear as to a motive for this shooting.
“I just don’t feel safe any more walking in my own neighborhood,” said one elderly resident who wouldn’t give her name. “These are hard-working people in this community, and people keep shooting each other. What is going on here?”
July 24, 5:32 p.m. – A 39 year-old-man was fatally gunned down in front of the Miller Evangelical Christian Union Church at 1110 President Street. Police from the 71st Precinct say the victim was shot point-blank in the face and neck. He was rushed by EMS to Kings County Hospital, but could not be saved.
The victim has been identified as Ancil Blackman, a resident of President Street, only a few buildings from where he was shot. Residents on the scene said Blackman is a building porter and was returning home from work at the time of the shooting.
“It was six shots randomly right behind each other. It is unbelievably quiet. We aren’t safe anymore.” said Loretta Reylonds, a resident of President Street.
Police are examining video from the church building, which has a congregation of more than 500 people each Sunday.
July 24, 10:20 p.m. – A 17-year-old male was shot in the back of the head execution-style as he entered the lobby of his building at 1625 Dean Street in the Weeksville Housing complex, a NYCHA development.
Police from the 77th Precinct discovered the victim just outside the lobby of his home. EMS rushed him to Interfaith Medical Center, but he could not be saved.
Police have identified him a Jahiem Guinn, of that same address. Two male blacks were seen running from the location after the shooting as police review security video from the NYCHA development.
This was the second fatal shooting at this complex in a month’s time. The first was the murder of a 21-year-old male shot point-blank in the hallway of his building at 1615 Dean Street on June 29. There were no arrests in that case.
July 25, 12:42 a.m. – A 58-year-old man was shot in the chest at the corner of West 101st Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Police from the 24th Precinct found the victim unconscious and unresponsive. He was rushed by EMS to Mount Sinai Saint Luke’s Medical Center where he later died of his wounds.
The victim in this case has not yet been identified and the investigation is ongoing.
Police are also investigating reports of shots fired at on Marion Street in the Bx, 300 West 125 St in Harlem, Allerton Avenue in the Bronx, and East 104th Street in Canarsie. Spent shells were found at each location.
Police seek public help in shooting
Police are seeking the public’s assistance in a shooting on the early morning of July 24 in which a man and woman were shot in front of 130 St Paul’s Place in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
Police from the 70th Precinct have provided a video of two men seen exiting a white BMW sedan, firing shots at the couple, and then fleeing in the same vehicle, a third person driving the car.
A 28-year-old woman was shot in the left knee and a 37-year-old man hit in the back. Both were reported in stable condition at Kings County Hospital.
Anyone with information in regard to any of these shootings is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.