Ongoing Feud Draws Fresh Blood
Ongoing Feud Draws Fresh Blood
Police: Genesis Of Manhattan Carnage Lies In Rockaway Complexes
By Howard Schwach
Four Rockaway residents were arrested last Tuesday by detectives from the Manhattan South Detect-ive Squad in relation to an incident at Times Square early Sunday morning in which eight people were shot (two critically) and two others were stabbed. Police officials say that the multiple assaults are tied to an ongoing feud between two local housing complexes, Ocean Village on Beach 69 Street and the Edgemere Houses (now called the Ocean Bay Houses) between Beach 51 and Beach 58 Street.
Police say that the four who were arrested are Jerimia Wilson (20) and his brother Justin (21), both of 1618 Seagirt Boulevard; Bryan Patterson (17) of 40-20 Beach Channel Drive and Shamika Williams (22) of 54-41 Almeda Avenue. In addition, Jermont Williams (21) of Jersey City was arrested as well.
Justin Wilson has been charged with attempted murder, criminal possession of a deadly weapon and assault. Jerimia Wilson has been charged with criminal possession of a deadly weapon. Bryan Patterson has been charged with criminal possession of a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment. Shamika Williams has been charged with criminal possession of a deadly weapon. Police sources say, however, that additional charges against all of those who were arrested are pending.
According to police officials, who spoke at a press conference held at City Hall, the incident at The Broadway City Arcade in the heart of Manhattan started 23 miles away, here in Rockaway and began perhaps more than 20 years ago.
"This goes back to growing up together," one police investigator told reporters. "This is 'my project is tougher than your project' kind of thing. These guys have been beating up on each other since they were eight years old. There was always an argument over which project was tougher."
"It was a longstanding rivalry between youths at two housing projects, the Ocean Towers (sic) Houses and the Edgemere Houses in Far Rockaway that has apparently been going on for years," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told the press conference. "People from those two projects found themselves at the club and looks were exchanged. That's all it took."
While he misidentified the name of the housing complex as Ocean Towers, rather than Ocean Village, it was clear to many locals what the police commissioner was speaking about.
One long-time Rockaway middle school teacher, who asked not to be identified, told The Wave, "The feud between the two housing complexes has been going on for many years, and it often spills over into the schools. I would estimate that more than half of the fights are over 'turf' rather than over some perceived difference."
Police say that the fracas began when one of the accused said, "This is boring, let's light the place up," as he pulled out a gun.
As the bullets began to fly, police say, possibly from as many as two guns, other people pulled knives as many others fled for the door.
Brian Patterson's mother, Kathy Patterson, reportedly told Newsday that her son was released from jail on February 27, after serving 15 days for car theft. He is reportedly on probation from that case.
It was not clear whether any of the others who were arrested had previous police records.
The Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, a spokesperson for the police department, said that Justin Wilson and Bryan Patterson opened fire on the crowd. Wilson's brother, Jerimia, allegedly brought the gun into the hall and gave it to Justin prior to the shooting. Shamika Williams was charged with smuggling in a second gun and giving it to Patterson.
Police are beefing up patrols around the two housing complexes as well as around the two local high schools - Beach Channel High School and Far Rockaway High School.
Cops recovered four shell casings from the dance floor, in addition to four knives and two boxcutters.