Fear Forces Family From Redfern
Shortly after their son was shot to death at the Redfern Houses on January 5, Judy and Neville Ward began receiving threatening phone calls, the couple says.
Some of the calls, Ward said, included threats. In other calls, the caller hung up without saying a word.
In either case, the calls scared the couple enough that they are now making plans to leave the Redfern Houses and Rockaway behind, despite the fact that they have had the protection of the Guardian Angels for the past two weeks.
"We [put them together] with Councilman James Sanders' [office] and the Assistant DA for Special Victims Services to get [the process] in motion for an emergency move," said Joseph Crooms of the Guardian Angels. "We got them with the proper contacts to make a decision. It was their desire."
A spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown would not comment on any plans to relocate the family.
The Guardian Angels came onto the scene after the threats began. They escorted the Ward's younger son Kordel, 5, to school for two days. The show of protection seemed to work.
"After that, the threatening phone calls stopped," Crooms told The Wave.
Police are still investigating the calls, but department sources could not comment on an open case.
The Guardian Angels also accompanied the family to court on January 23, when the two suspects in their son's murder - Taquan Stotts, 15, and Rashaun Ferguson, 13 - were arraigned in the murder of the younger Ward.
Crooms is one of three Guardian Angels from the Far Rockaway area who were assigned to help the Ward family.
While it has not been confirmed, Crooms also told The Wave it was possible that the teenager was killed because he would not join a gang.
In the meantime, people who knew the young man are at a loss for why he was targeted.
"We couldn't understand why anyone would want to do that to him because he was a good kid," said Irving Privgen, who has lived in the Redfern Houses for 15 years.
"I knew Neville. He was a great kid. I know his mother and father. This violence has got to stop," said Privgen's wife Gina.
Durell Parker supervised Ward when the young man took part in the summer youth program at the Lighthouse doing EMS work, approximately two or three years ago.
"He was good," said Parker. "All he ever talked about was playing basketball and going to college."
Parker, who also lives in the Redfern Houses, said he first heard the news of Ward's death while at work at Suffolk County's EMS. It was at that time that the call of "man down" at Redfern came over the EMS radio network.
"When I looked at the paper the next day [I found out] it was talking about him," said Parker.
The Wave made several unsuccessful attempts to speak with the Ward family for this article.