Elected leaders express outrage over gang violence after shooting at Brooklyn birthday party

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks says his office has had behind closed doors meetings with gang members. He spoke where seven young people were shot during a sweet 16 party. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

Leaders and elected officials expressed shock and anger over the shooting of seven young people, killing one woman at a sweet 16 celebration that was spurred by ongoing gang violence in Brooklyn.

There were 11 people shot in Brooklyn yesterday, most of which were blamed on gang related violence.

Just over 12 hours after the shooting of seven young people at the party at 15 Albany Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, community leaders and elected officials gathered in front of the building to condemn the violence, but also to seek solutions to the ongoing carnage caused by gang warfare. Shootings are up more than 140 percent for the year and homicides are up 40 percent – much of it blamed on burgeoning gang violence.

Detectives look for clues at mass shooting at 15 Albany Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, part of gang violence in the city. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

Borough President Eric Adams and Councilman Robert Coregy Jr. led the charge, expressing outrage with the repeated violence and vowing to commit more resources to battle gun proliferation and shootings that have plagued the city. Their anger was heightened by last night’s shooting perpetrated by two gang members that claimed the life of a 20-year-old woman and wounded six other young people, including a 14-year-old girl.

Adams however said their efforts must go beyond law enforcement and he said his office has done outreach with the gangs.

“We have been meeting with a number of gang members, with known shooters, people who are known shooters and we have met with them behind closed doors and finding out what do we need to have them cycle out of gangs,” Adams said. “This is an in-depth conversation that goes back to what the council person stated – it’s about jobs, of reconnecting them with the resources that are available. Some of the conversations that we have had with gang members who are heads of the smaller crews and they have stated that many of their members are looking to cycle out of gang behavior and we need to have the resources to do so.”

Adams said his focus is working with “crisis management teams” to “de-escalate the violence.”

“Some of the meetings we’ve had over the last few months with known shooters and known gang members that are dealing with issues of this beef, we believe that if we can get resources on the ground, we can start to de-escalate the violence,” Adams said.

Councilman Cornegy echoed Adams saying that he “knows that there are members of these gangs who want out, but don’t know how.”

“They don’t know what resources are available to them, they don’t know that the borough president’s office, district attorney’s office, the police department have ways, the community has ways to protect them once they have decided they want an alternative life,” Cornegy said. “The crisis management system that was mentioned, staffed by people who are credible messengers because they have had some involvement in these streets. They are able to get to the young people because they are fresh out of, in some instances from these situations.”

Cornegy vowed to commit resources to crisis management systems, that provide outreach to gang members, especially those who have not yet committed violence.

“As a priority we can do that because we know that young people have entered into crisis management roles and have changed their lives, making them credible messengers,” Cornegy claimed.

Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. decries the shooting of seven young people at Sweet 16 at 15 Albany Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Pastor Gil Munroe of the God Squad said police efforts must also be directed at stopping “the iron pipeline,” in which guns are trafficked into the city north on I-95 from states with lax gun laws.

“We must stop the flow of guns to our young people and prevent them from doing the things they are doing in our community,” Munroe said, having visited numerous shooting scenes over the past few months and seeing the carnage.

Adams outlined a slew of measures needed to control the violence, including shifting resources from neighborhoods that have less crime and fewer people to high crime areas. he also urged the NYPD to move the former anti-crime police officers into anti-gun roles, to focus on getting guns off the streets.

“Murders are up more than 37 percent, this is reminiscent of the days when we were having 2000 homicides in a year,” Adams complained. “This is not acceptable. If you do an analysis these shootings are localized to particular communities – black and brown communities. The urgency must meet the crisis.”

Sharonne Perry, a neighbor of the apartment building where the shooting occurred, but also a director of government and community relations at Interfaith Hospital, where many gunshot victims end up, said she is outraged by the violence in her neighborhood. She said her nephew was in an apartment next to where the shooting occurred.

“He’s like in shock over this,” Perry said of her nephew who she said had to step over gunshot victims as he fled the building. “He was a friend’s house playing games and he was leaving as the shots rang out. He said he had to jump over bodies to get out of the building. This is going to have a long-lasting effect – we have a lot of seniors living here, and we have to deal with them to make them feel safe so we will work with folks – coming up with a plan to bring resources. Sometimes what happens is a cry for help – there might be parents whose kids are out of control and they are doing the best to the ability – if they can’t do it, then we must step in and help them. Parents, talk to your children – if you think your kids are not doing something right, then you have to talk to them – we have to put an end to this.”

Sharonne Perry, a neighbor of the apartment building where the shooting occurred, points to where she lives across from the crime scene. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

There are no arrests at this time for this shooting and descriptions of the assailants has not yet been provided by police.

Detectives are seeking information to the identity of the two young men who shot the seven young people last night. Anyone with information regarding this shooting can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at nypdcrimestoppers.com, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

The God Squad was on scene of the shooting last night and at today’s press conference. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)
Investigators continue to probe the shooting of seven young people at a sweet-16 party at 15 Albany Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. (Photo by Todd Maisel)