2009-04-24 / Top Stories

Shootings Emphasize Vigilance At Ocean Bay

By Miriam Rosenberg

Increased gun violence between factions of young people living at Ocean Bay Apartments has many residents looking for police intervention. This became evident when several parents showed up to discuss the issue at this month's 101 Precinct Community Council meeting last week.

"The beef is between the young kids [on Beach 59 Street] and the older kids [on Beach 51 Street], said one parent who asked not to be identified. "They were out there [one time] with a camera videotaping themselves shooting at 3:00, 3:10 [a.m.]. We were watching them. No cops showed up."

In less than a week, there have been three shooting incidents in the Ocean Bay Apartments area.

On April 19, a 17-year-old male was shot at approximately 11:40 p.m. in front of 316 Beach 56 Street. The victim was transported to Peninsula Hospital and is in stable condition.

"To our knowledge it's random," said a police source. "[The victim] said he heard two or three shots and then realized he was hit. He walked over to the [NYPD] satellite on Beach 54 Street."

On the evening of April 20, a 16- year-old male was shot as he was waiting for a bus at the corner of Beach 59 and Beach Channel Drive. He was tak- en to Jamaica Hospital where he remains in stable condition.

There was also an unconfirmed report of shots fired at 51-41 Almeda Avenue on the afternoon of April 16.

"It's a core group of kids. They all know each other. They take shots at each other," said Deputy Inspector Brian McMahon, the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct. "A couple of guys got out of jail just recently and are starting this stuff all over again."

McMahon described one example of the problem when he said that shots were fired in the middle of the night three Mondays in a row.

"There were no ballistics. No hits. Somebody just letting rounds go," said McMahon.

The deputy inspector did say things quieted down a bit since they recovered a gun tossed on a roof by a suspect during a pursuit.

The Ocean Bay resident who spoke with The Wave says he does his own building patrol because the tenant patrol would not get involved. He added, "The 59 Street side don't respect anybody. The good kids are getting dragged into something they have nothing to do with. They don't know how to defend themselves. For these kids here, when you get people who are scared something is going to happen. You're going to have good kids turning bad because they're fighting for their lives."

Most of the precinct's attention has recently been on Redfern Houses because of the murders in that complex. This week, in the early morning hours of April 21, there was a complaint of shots fired at 530 Hassock Avenue. When the police arrived they were not able to confirm the report.

"Usually shots fired are never confirmed," said the police source. "They come in over the radio as anonymous and officers can't find [anyone who heard anything]."

However, McMahon said they would soon shift their priorities to Ocean Bay.

There are fears that violence could erupt this summer that will make it unsafe for people to sit outside their homes or even walk past the development.

"By the time they [the police] get done with Redfern and get up to us, trust me, this summer you're going to have a lot of bodies," said the concerned resident. "You're going to have more shootings than you've ever had before.

"To step in now is what's needed. They could have brought them to the community center or brought them here [to the precinct] and sat down with them - both sides - and worked out something."

The parent who spoke with The Wave has lived in Ocean Bay Houses for 35 years.

"It's not just those two sides of the projects beefing. Now it's the projects across the street," he continued. "It's a powder keg about to explode and when it explodes, it's going to explode big time."

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