2012-08-03 / Top Stories

Outbreak Of Gun Incidents Mar Summer

By Howard Schwach

Remember to duck if you see somebody with a gun.

This summer has seen not an uptick, but a cascade of shooting incidents, both citywide and on the Rockaway peninsula, statistics recently released by the NYPD show.

According to those statistics, which were released last week, citywide, 957 people have been victims of shootings since January, with 144 of the shootings resulting in death. During the summer months, since the July 4 weekend, the number of shootings in the city was up one-third from the same period last year.

The same statistics show that shooting events in the precincts that make up the Patrol Borough South Queens Command, including the two precincts in Rockaway, are up 100 percent from the same period last year.

There has been one homicide in the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Beach this year, up from none last year. The 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway has had three homicides so far this year, the same as last year at the end of July.

Felonious assaults, however, which include shooting incidents that do not lead to a death, are up in the 101 Precinct to 140 this year from 102 last year, a rise of 35.9 percent. In the 100 Precinct, felonious assaults are down slightly, to 66 this year from 76 last year.

In addition, there are numerous incidents, particularly around the city public housing projects, where calls of “shots fired” ring out almost nightly, but no shooter or victim is ever found.

On Monday, for example, two men carrying guns broke into a private home on Beach 118 Street and menaced the residents before taking some property. One of the gun thugs was busted by cops who were already on the block investigating a man who had suffered a heart attack minutes before. That event took place at about 11 a.m.

Only hours later, at 2 p.m., cops received a 911 call for “three shots fired, possible male shot” at 13-62 Redfern Avenue in Far Rockaway, outside the sprawling Redfern public housing complex.

No victim was found, despite the fact that cops checked St. John’s Episcopal Hospital’s emergency room, but shell casings were reportedly found.

At 4 p.m. the same day, two men with handguns were reported as threatening residents along the bay at Beach 67 Street. The men were gone by the time police responded, however.

The gun violence began in late June.

At about 2:25 a.m. on Friday, June 22, Taquan Harding, 18, of 81-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, standing in front of the bodega on 86-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, was shot and killed by an unidentified man who walked up to Harding, said something to him and then shot him once in the chest.

A little more than 24 hours later, at about 2:35 a.m. on Saturday, June 23, an unidentified 19-year-old Hispanic male was shot at the corner of Beach 72 Street and Hillmeyer Avenue in Arverne.

Police say that the victim was shot once in the abdomen but was not likely to die. Sources say that the victim was not cooperative with detectives.

He was transported to Jamaica Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Then, on Sunday, June 24, there were two shooting incidents.

At about 5:12 a.m. an unidentified male was shot in front of 438 Beach 40 Street, in the Ocean Bay Houses.

Sources say his wound is not lifethreatening and he was transported to Jamaica Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Then, at 10:50 p.m. that night there was a report of shots fired at Beach 20 Street and Cornaga Avenue in Far Rockaway, but a police canvass failed to turn up anybody with a gunshot wound.

Then, on June 27, there was an armed robbery with a handgun at Beach 49 Street and Beach Channel Drive, a robbery that police suspect was gang related.

Early in the morning of the same day, there were shots fired in the vicinity of McBride Street in Far Rockaway and then the next day, at about 10:30 p.m., a woman was shot at 321 Beach 47 Street. Sources say that the woman may have been an innocent bystander in the way of a gang-related shooting.

On July 13, Shawn Plummer, 18, was shot and killed while he was riding his bike at Beach 29 Street and Seagirt Boulevard.

The day after, on July 14, a 22-yearold man was shot once in the buttocks in front of 1436 Beach Channel Drive.

On July 17, in front of 1030 Redfern Avenue, a man suffered a gunshot wound to his back and leg.

On July 21, a motorist driving in front of the Ocean Bay Houses at 54-22 Beach Channel Drive was shot once in the thigh.

On July 25, a 21-year-old man was followed into the courtyard of 81-05 Hammels Boulevard, in the Hammel Houses project, and was shot once in the lower back.

On July 30, at approximately 11:24 p.m., a 24-year-old man was shot once in the arm at the corner of Beach 36 Street and Beach Channel Drive.

That makes an unlucky 13 shooting incidents within one month, two of them homicides.

Local politicians, all of whom criticized the police department’s stop and frisk program, have begun to react to the spate of shootings.

Last week, City Councilman James Sanders Jr. hosted a “Stop the Violence” march in the vicinity of the Beach 29 Street homicide.

And, on Monday, Congressman Gregory Meeks met with parents of shooting victims in a restaurant in Jamaica.

State Senator Malcolm Smith put forth a plan to stop the violence that would include fasting, prayer and using black ministers as go-betweens to report shooting violence that would then be passed on to the police department.

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