NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is reeling from a holiday weekend of gun violence, with police reporting dozens of shootings.
The NYPD said there were 44 shooting incidents over the weekend, with a total of 64 victims, and 11 deaths.
CBS2’s John Dias reported two more people were shot Monday morning.
“Something has got to be done because it’s getting way out of hand,” said Darrel Johnson of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
Chopper 2 flew over the scene of a double-shooting in Downtown Brooklyn, which sent a 65-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman to the hospital.
Hours earlier, a 25-year-old man was shot in the stomach in Bed-Stuy.
“It’s sad and hurtful, really, just so evident that we are in a bad time right now, very difficult time,” said John Samuel, 77, who walked out of his home to the crime scene Monday morning.
Later Monday, police sources said a 14-year-old boy was shot in the neck and torso at around 5 p.m. on 166th Street in Queens. He was said to be in surgery and expected to survive.
“I hear bam, bam, but I thought it was like firecrackers or something,” St. Albans resident Hugh McPherson told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
The numbers don’t lie: In the last week there have been 101 victims of shootings, compared to 33 for the same week a year ago, an increase of 206%.
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In the wake of the pandemic and nationwide protests over racial injustice — with many calling on leaders to slash police budgets — many New Yorkers are not sure what the answer to gun violence is.
“It’s scary. Innocent people getting hurt, and it’s just crazy. You need the police, but then there are some that are not good and that’s why people are protesting. It’s kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Dionne Thomas.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said peace will come with more resources and support.
“You heard me say a storm was coming back. And we’re in the middle of it right now,” said Shea. “We can’t have a system where we have thousands of people with open gun cases out on the street with no repercussions… and, you know, to the elected officials, let’s start listening to the public and stop listening to advocates with agendas… We have to do a better job of keeping people safe in this city. And when I say we, I’m talking about elected officials, I’m talking about community, I’m talking about police.”
Theories Behind The Rise In Gun Violence
It has been decades since there was violence like this in the city, and Mayor Bill de Blasio says there are a number of reasons for it.
“It’s not because of one thing,” de Blasio said. “The court system is not working, the economy is not working, people been pent up for months and months, so many issues underlying this challenge.”
But the top spokesman for the state’s court system said blaming the courts is absurd, and ridiculous, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported.
The mayor “should be looking in the mirror, not gazing out the window,” the spokesperson said, adding.
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For NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, things took a turn after Memorial Day.
“The explosions started after the murder of George Floyd, after the protests here in the city, after the animosity towards the police within this city, after the feeling of emboldenment by the criminals on the streets that the cops can’t do anything anymore,” Monahan said.
Monahan also pointed to bail reform and district attorneys’ reluctance to prosecute quality-of-life crimes.
Queens DA Melinda Katz said the issue is more nuanced than that.
“It’s not going to be resolved simply by prosecuting. We need to work with the communities that need to feel safe about reporting,” Katz said. “They need to feel safe about witness, about being witnesses in our cases.”
Police say there has been a spike in drug- and gang-related shootings.
“It’s bad people with guns. I mean, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. We get people settling scores. We get people spraying a crowd,” Shea said.
Top brass at the NYPD are also blaming the release of prisoners from Rikers Island, saying 275 inmates that were let go during the pandemic in June were then re-arrested 550 times.
Shea said he plans to meet with five district attorneys to discuss ways to keep repeat offenders off the streets.
The NYPD says another factor is anti-police rhetoric. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked about that on Monday.
“Fact, there has been anti-police rhetoric. Leading to what is the question. Leading to police being less aggressive? Leading to what? That’s what we have to find out,” Cuomo said.
The governor also said he disagrees with nearly every reason the Monahan listed for the rise in crime, including the Anti-Chokehold Act, which he said embodies what was already the NYPD’s policy.
The NYPD and the mayor’s office said for the gun violence numbers to come down everyone has to work together.