6 Are Shot in Brooklyn as N.Y.C.’s Summer of Violence Spills Into Fall

A white passenger car slowed down on a residential street in Brooklyn. One man fired his gun from the driver’s side, and a second man fired a gun through the car’s open sunroof. Bullets splintered into the air, striking six people on Wednesday night, the police said.

A 23-year-old man collapsed on the street after two bullets struck him in the chest. He later died a nearby hospital, the police said. The five other victims, who were shot in their legs and back, were expected to survive. The police did not disclose a motive on Thursday.

The incident occurred on a violent night when two other people were shot in other parts of the city and recalled the mass shootings of a bygone era when drive-by violence was much more common in New York.

Gun violence that had plagued the city for most of the summer has continued into the fall, a troubling trend that has some city leaders questioning whether the police have backed off enforcement to the detriment of public safety. More than 1,515 people have been shot so far this year, twice as many as all of 2019, and there have been 362 homicides, a 32 percent increase over last year.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough president who is running for mayor next year, said that even though he’s hearing fewer complaints of a police slowdown recently in his district, he wants to see the department devote more resources to gun violence reduction programs.

“We need to treat this with the level of urgency that it deserves,” said Mr. Adams, a former police officer. “The use of guns are wrecking havoc and we must keep up with them. I’m not seeing a level of urgency.”

Police officials said the department has had trouble stopping gang feuds that are fueling much of the violence partly because budget cuts have strained resources. The department has contended with a number of setbacks, officials said, including the suspension of three police academy classes; a reduction of at least 2,500 police officers through attrition; and a budgeted cut of nearly 60 percent in overtime for uniformed police officers.

Despite the budgeted overtime cut, preliminary figures from the Independent Budget Office indicate that the department is on track to exceed its overtime budget by $116 million during this fiscal year.

Gun arrests have only recently begun to climb after dropping steeply earlier this summer. A confidential analysis of crime data obtained by The New York Times this summer showed that gun arrests had plummeted, even as the police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea, attributed the increase in violence to the pandemic, protests against police brutality and a new bail law that released inmates from city jails.

Police brass continue to strongly push back and point to the recent increase in the number of arrests for illegal guns. Last month police made 607 such arrests, a 98 percent increase when compared to a year ago, the police said.

In a statement, Mr. Shea said the department will continue to work with community leaders to curb the violence that shows no signs of abating.

“Despite the unparalleled challenges they face every day, our officers continue to engage with the community and zero in on the drivers of crime,” Mr. Shea said. “I thank the men and women of the N.Y.P.D. who work relentlessly, day in and day out, to keep New Yorkers in every neighborhood safe. We will continue to address crime upticks and work in close partnership with the residents we are sworn to serve.”

More than half of shootings in any given year involve rival gang members fighting over turf, romantic triangles and music, investigators said, and gang-related shootings often lead to an endless cycle of retaliations, they said.

In recent months, some victims have been bystanders, not targets.

In early October, Bertha Arriaga, a mother of three, died after a stray bullet pierced her apartment window in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. She was struck in the neck.

City leaders and residents were outraged in August when Davell Gardner Jr., a 22-month-old, was fatally shot in his stroller in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The violence continued in a spate of shootings across the city on Wednesday night, including the incident that killed Theodore Senior, the 23-year-old man who was shot on the street in Brooklyn, a law enforcement official said. Two other men also died, one in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx.

Kevin Holloman, 28, was shot at around 9:30 p.m. as he walked along Herkimer Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where two men in their 20s had died in a shooting a week earlier, police said. The gunman fled on foot.

The gun violence spread to the Bronx later that night, where police found a 23-year-old man, later identified as Aaron Santiago, dead with a gunshot to the head at 11:40 p.m. on Anderson Avenue.

A motive was not disclosed by the police in either shooting, and investigators were looking for suspects.

Earlier this week, detectives arrested a man wanted in connection with another shooting that left Wendolin Ortiz, a 19-year-old woman, dead and two men injured. The police said more than 20 people were inside Mixtec Restaurant on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, which also serves as a social club, when the shooting occurred at around 7 a.m. Monday. The police arrested Domingo Berroa, 32, a day later before he boarded a flight to the Dominican Republic from Kennedy International Airport. He was charged with the killing of Ms. Ortiz, the police said.

Back in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon, two uniformed officers stood watch where the young people had been shot. Weary area residents walked by orange evidence markers visible on the curb. They said they had seen more police officers in the neighborhood, but that it was not enough to curb the violence there.

“The police presence there hasn’t stopped people from gathering in large numbers at all hours of the night, sitting around drinking, whatever,” said Marcellus Jeudine, a hospital worker who grew up in the area.

Benoit Flambert, who lives on Hawthorne Street, said he did not know what had happened until Thursday morning.

“The police came to my house and told me my car was riddled with bullets,” Mr. Flambert, 44, said.

Police were looking at his SUV for evidence. Mr. Flambert looked, too.

He counted at least four bullet holes in the driver side front door and the trunk.

Troy Closson contributed reporting.

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100 BLM Protesters Shut Down NYC’s George Washington Bridge

Police arrested six Black Lives Matter protesters Saturday after a crowd stalled traffic on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York City and New Jersey.

“Around 100 protesters took part in the rowdy, two-borough rally, first marching from The Bronx into Manhattan on the Cross Bronx Expressway,” according to the New York Post.

The group moved onto the upper level of the George Washington Bridge around 7:30 p.m. and blocked traffic for about 20 minutes before police arrived and dispersed them.

Pix11 shared an aerial photo of the bridge during the incident Saturday night:

The protesters also reportedly used large traffic cones to block the roadway and chanted, “No justice, no peace!”:

On what appeared to be his Instagram account, Chairperson of Black Lives Matter Greater New York Hawk Newsome shared video footage of protesters on the George Washington Bridge:

“Our City!!!! GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE SHUT DOWN,” the caption read.

After crossing back into Manhattan, the group gathered outside the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights, the Post reported.

Newsome also shared video footage of the crowd and New York Police Department (NYPD) officers in riot gear outside the precinct:

The caption urged Instagram users to call the department until three of those arrested were freed:

“FREE THE TEAM!!! Pigs at the 34th are not picking up the phone. CALL UNTIL THEY DO FREE @elletravelsvegan @gabriel.himself @jamaicanwriterchick,” the post read.

Following clashes with police, officers dispersed the protesters around 10 p.m. and no injuries were reported, according to the Post.

During a protest in a residential area of Rochester, New York, on Saturday night, one man shouted, “There’s no such thing as a blue life!” through a bullhorn at a row of law enforcement officers, according to Breitbart News.

“Police pushed demonstrators back from the Rochester Public Safety Building, which has been the target of recent ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests over the death of Daniel Prude,” the report said.

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Bill de Blasio Blames NYC’s Surging Violence on Guns

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) blamed access to guns for the surging violence in the city during a Monday video address.

Following a weekend in which 35 people were shot, including a slain one-year-old boy, de Blasio lamented the number of guns in his city and in the U.S. as a whole.

He mentioned the deceased child’s name, Davell Gardner, Jr., and noted the vast number of possibilities and opportunities life could have delivered to him.

De Blasio then circled back to the shooting, saying, “This is not anything that we can allow in our city.”

He added, “It’s heartbreaking for so many reasons, and it begins with the fact that there’s just so many guns out there and that’s a New York tragedy and a national tragedy.”

New York City is one of the most gun-controlled locations in the U.S. It exists under the umbrella of the SAFE ACT, which was signed into law following the December 14, 2012, attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The SAFE Act bans the sale of “assault weapons” and requires registration of such weapons in situations where they were owned prior to the law taking effect. The Act also requires the registration of ammunition, bans the purchase of magazines holding more than ten rounds, and instituted universal background checks for gun sales.

In addition to those controls, the process for getting a concealed carry permit for New York City is extremely difficult. Fox News reports that the process for getting a permit includes showing a “justifiable need” for one. Similar requirements exist in California and New Jersey.

Also, NYC’s permitting process is on a “May Issue” basis, which means the reviewing officer is the ultimate arbiter of whether an applicant gets a license.

Despite these restrictions, legal hurdles, and numerous other gun control measures, NYC is seeing a surge in gun crime.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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