Critics Dispute Mayor's Claim Of Safest Summer In 20 Years

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has said this summer was the safest in New York City in 20 years, but a string of violence tore through the city this past weekend.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, there were 13 reported shootings this weekend that left at least eight people dead, including a cab driver in the Bronx early Monday.

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The shooting that killed the cab driver happened around 1:30 a.m. in the Belmont section just south of Fordham University.

Officers were called to East 189th Street and Beaumont Avenue, where they found 39-year-old Barry Mamadou still sitting in the driver’s seat of his green Lincoln Town Car with a gunshot wound to the head, police said.

Mamadou had picked up the gunman just minutes earlier, police said. The man told the driver where he needed to go, and they agreed on a fare, authorities said. But when the passenger apparently changed his mind on where to get dropped off and wanted to go to a farther location, the cab driver asked for more money, and that’s when the man opened fire and ran off, police said.

Mamadou’s car then slammed into another car.

Police late Monday released surveillance video of the suspect in the shooting. They described him as a Hispanic male with a medium complexion, thin build, wearing a red hooded sweater with light colored shorts.

The cabbie’s pregnant wife was inconsolable after her 39-year-old husband – the father of three children – was shot and killed.

“He fight for me and my kids, and somebody take him away,” she told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “He loved me.”

Investigators said Barry had been on the phone with his brother, who had heard the quarrel. Then the phone went dead after a loud bang.

“I don’t know why this happened,” said the cabbie’s brother, Mamadou Saidou Barry. “Taxi drivers never have a lot of money — maybe only like $50 or $100. You killed him for a couple of dollars.”

Fellow cab drivers told CBS2 they are nervous to get behind the wheel because the suspect has not been caught.

“We have nothing (to) protect ourselves,” one driver said.

“Where are the cops at these wee hours of the night?” asked Fernando Mateo, head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers. “Where are the cameras around these streets in the Bronx and in East New York and in Jamaica, Queens, and in upper Manhattan?”

Mamadou was the eighth person killed in 10 shootings across the city since Saturday. One shooting also left a 7-year-old girl wounded by a stray bullet in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.

Arianna Maldonado told CBS2’s Alice Gainer the graze wound she suffered to the back of her leg. She was hit by a stray bullet while walking home Sunday.

“I heard a shot fired. My daughter ran to me saying. ‘Daddy, ow! It hurts! I’ve been hit!’” said Arianna’s father, Juan Maldonado.

The trail of tears for weekend gun violence also led to Brooklyn. City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-35th) also started crying at a news conference as she talked about the search for an alleged gunman caught on videotape in the killing of three men at the Ingersoll Houses on the edge of downtown Brooklyn.

That shooting happened shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday in a courtyard of the public housing development on Myrtle Avenue.

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Police have released surveillance video of the suspect. Cameras initially captured him lingering by recycling bins at the public housing complex. Then police said he was seen running away from the scene.

The victims were identified as Calvin Clinkscales, 43, of Queens; Lacount Simmons, 39, of Brooklyn; and Herbert Brown, 76, of Brooklyn.

“We have nine shell casings from a 40-caliber that were recovered at the scene,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola, on Monday. “We have a lot of information I’m not privy to give out right now, but the case is moving well.”

Boyce believes the suspect lives in the neighborhood.

On Monday, relatives of the three men who were killed joined a rally to demand action with City Hall.

“If we do not raise our voices on this issue, we are giving permission for this to continue to happen,” Councilwoman Cumbo said.

Also at the rally, city Comptroller Scott Stringer said he does not buy Mayor de Blasio’s argument that the city has had the safest summer in over 20 years.

“When you go out and talk to the parents and the grandparents, they don’t want to hear that,” Stringer said.

In other incidents, just before 3 p.m. Sunday, 24-year-old David Hooks was shot and killed at East 194th Street and Briggs Avenue in the Bronx, police said.

Around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 34-year-old Kevin Brye died after being shot in the head at East 115th Street and First Avenue in East Harlem, police said.

Two people were shot just before 8 p.m. Saturday on East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, police said.

The victims, a 34-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man, were taken to a hospital, where the man later died, police said. The woman is in critical condition.

Around 5:40 p.m. Saturday, 36-year-old Julio Yasser was shot in the torso in front of 1925 Church Ave. in Prospect Park South, Brooklyn, police said. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Kramer on Monday asked Mayor de Blasio what he would say to New Yorkers about the perception that violent crime is actually getting worse.

“I would say, have faith in the NYPD. I would say, look at the facts and the numbers,” he said. “The NYPD continues to drive down crime.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the weekend gun body county was unusual.

“The fact that we had, I think, six or seven – seven, I think — encompassing Friday, Saturday, Sunday — that’s twice as many as we’d normally have,” he said, “and every one of those lives count.”

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In addition to the gun crimes, there were also nine stabbing incidents Friday night that left 10 people wounded. The knife crimes were in every borough except Brooklyn.