Seaport shooting leads to more police presence

BY Aline Reynolds

Two armed individuals intruded on a block party in the South Street Seaport just before 3 a.m. last Saturday morning, firing and wounding three people.

A 17-year-old female was shot in the torso, a 21-year-old female was shot in the right hand and a 23-year-old male had a grazed gunshot wound to the arm. All three victims were immediately taken to Bellevue Hospital and are listed in stable condition, according to a first precinct report obtained by Downtown Express.

The two individuals that were arrested were 38-year-old Alex Ramos and 31-year-old Victor Mata, both from the New York City Housing Authorities’ Alfred E. Smith Houses, at 21 St. James Place, according to commanding officer Edward Winsky of the first precinct. The men brought out their guns after an alleged altercation with females that were hanging out on the street.

Ramos and Mata were both charged with three felonies: assault, criminal use of a firearm and possession of a weapon. Ramos and Mata are each out on $75,000 bail. They will appear in front of a grand jury on Thursday, where they will likely receive their indictments.

The incident occurred in front of 133 Beekman Street, between Water and Front Streets, about half a block away from the restaurant/bar Stella. Fernando Dallorso, owner of Stella, recalled a group of around 20 people showing up for drinks in a white stretched limousine just before midnight. The group left Stella when it closed at 2 a.m. and congregated around a light gray or tan Hyundai Sonata, which he said was parked on the corner of Beekman and Front Streets. Dallorso said they were dancing to loud music around and on top of the car, disturbing the generally quiet neighborhood.

“The neighbors were getting upset,” Dallorso said. “I went to the car and asked them to lower the volume and just go home.” Dallorso resumed closing Stella’s, when he heard two gunshots.

Dallorso said the cops that arrived on the scene informed him the three victims were from the original initial group of 20 from the birthday celebration at Stella, which Downtown Express later confirmed with the first precinct.

“It’s just ridiculous that two groups of people would resolve [a fight] with a gun,” Dallorso said.

“I want to do whatever I can do to make sure it never happens again,” he added, feeling partially responsible for not calling for immediate police assistance when the youths wouldn’t quiet down.

Winsky disclosed the details of the incident at Community Board 1’s Crime Task Force Committee meeting Tuesday evening. He and George Liropoulos, police officer of crime prevention, will be meeting with restaurateurs and merchants in the neighborhood to discuss how they can help prevent future incidents.

“I’d rather have you air on the side of caution and call 9-1-1,” Winsky told Dallorso, instead of allowing the disorderly conduct to continue and result in people being injured. Bystanders are alternatively asked to call 3-1-1 or the first precinct.

Winsky will start a new police enforcement group, called the cabaret conditions team, to patrol nightlife within the first precinct’s territory. Cops will soon be assigned to night shifts in the area between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Other recent crimes in the area include a homicide outside of Greenhouse night club, on Varick Street, and a shooting outside of S.O.B. night club, also on Varick Street.

Winsky noted that, despite the need for added enforcement, crime rates in the area have dropped, and that the Friday night incident was an isolated one rather than part of a chain of shootings.