NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fear is growing in neighborhoods across New York City as gun violence climbs.
The NYPD said Sunday over the previous 24 hours there had been at least 20 shooting incidents, resulting in 23 people injured and five deaths.
Year to date, police said the number of shootings are way up. As of Aug. 15, there have been 888 shooting incidents. In 2019, there were about half that amount — 488 incidents.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter Sunday night, saying if Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t get a handle on the violence, the federal government will.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2020
De Blasio did not immediately respond to the president’s tweet.
Just Saturday, an off-duty correction officer was killed. The 28-year-old was leaving a party in Queens, and overnight a 47-year-old man was gunned down in Brooklyn. He was a father of two, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
A dead man’s family and friends were in Prospect Park on Sunday. It was the scene of the city’s latest fatal shooting.
Candles were added throughout the evening to a bench at an entrance to the park off Parkside Avenue.
Carlin has learned the victim of the fatal shooting at 2 a.m. Sunday was 47-year-old Paul Pinkney. His niece, who asked CBS2 not use her name, described him.
“Really nice, really fun, sweet, loving person and we all hurt,” the niece said.
Pinkney is survived by two adult daughters.
14 people shot and killed across our city in the past week.
We cannot become numb to this, or dismiss it as a statistical aberration.
The gun violence crisis we’re facing demands real solutions. https://t.co/hYokzJZULN
— Eric Adams (@BKBoroHall) August 16, 2020
Police said there were 49 people were shot in New York City from Thursday to Sunday. Others who lost their lives to the weekend gun violence include 28-year-old city correction officer John Jeff, fatally shot early Saturday morning in Queens near the corner of Ridgedale and Defoe streets.
It has been a summer of gun violence. This weekend, police also put out newly obtained video from earlier shooting cases. One is from the morning of Aug. 2 on Lenox Avenue in Harlem. It shows two men firing at a car.
And new video shows a man firing several shots into a home along Bryant Avenue in the Morrisania section of the Bronx on the night of June 15.
Former NYPD lieutenant and criminal justice professor Darrin Porcher blames the defunding of the police and failed leadership from the de Blasio administration about how to arrest suspects as main reasons for the continued violence.
“The city is under siege. We’ve had multiple shootings just over this weekend alone. We’ve far eclipsed the number of shootings for the last two years in this year, 2020, alone,” Porcher told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. “We need to have that manpower in place and what it’s going to require is a greater amount of overtime.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is also former New York cop. He believes there’s been a substantial drop in arrests because officers are not doing their jobs.
“I want to renew my calls for a Tri-State task force to deal with the over-proliferation of handguns in our city,” Adams said.
And he’s calling for an unpredictable model of policing that will incorporate unmarked vehicles and officers.
He also believes the city needs a plan to deal with high unemployment, which is contributing to the violence.
Amid the spike in shootings and fears related to hotels housing emotionally disturbed homeless individuals, the unarmed and all-volunteer Guardian Angels have deployed 60 members to the Upper West Side.
“When we first arrived 10 days ago it was complete chaos,” Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said. “The cops are not responding. They’re not coming. You gotta take matters into your own hands.”
Rozner saw some neighbors thanking them on Sunday night.
“I’m glad to see them,” one man said.
Others worry it creates the possibility for more conflict because there’s no agency holding the Guardian Angels accountable.
“I’m really worried that by introducing civilian vigilante groups into the neighborhood we actually make the neighborhood much more dangerous,” resident Melissa Sanchez said.
The Guardian Angels said they may expand city wide. Rozner reached out to the NYPD for comment, but did not hear back.
Others are also trying to make a difference.
Katz joined community activists Saturday at a Stop The Violence demonstration in Far Rockaway, then appeared at an all-day gun buyback event at Greater Springfield Community Church in Jamaica — $200 given for each gun turned in. No questions asked.
“Every gun we take off the street today is a gun that will not be used in the neighborhood,” said Katz.
Katz said she is working to keep guns out of the hands of a younger generation. However, with youth programs canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, community activists said they’ll have to work harder than ever to reach their goal.
Elizabeth McCarthy is CEO of the group Sheltering Arms, which goes into communities with high crime rates with outreach workers to establish trust.
McCarthy said, “Kids get into trouble when they’re not busy, and when they don’t have productive things and when they don’t have hope.”
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