Analysis: sequence of 3 fatal shootings in 28 hours unprecedented in recent Staten Island history
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Shots fired at three separate locations over a 28-hour period last week left three people dead – the deadliest wave of gunfire in the borough since at least the start of the century.
An analysis of an Advance / SILive.com homicide database shows no comparison with three separate shootings causing deaths in less than two days in at least 20 years of record keeping.
The violent stretch comes after a summer that saw a 93.6% increase in shooting incidents across the city from 2019, according to NYPD data, and a 106.7% increase in Staten Island through to September 20.
Benjamin Gilbert, president of Occupy the Block, said that the arrival of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the already underfunded communities of the Côte-Nord has contributed to “a higher level of poverty, a level of crime higher ”in recent months which often prevents gun violence.
“It’s just a perfect storm for that experience to happen where you have three deaths in the space of two days,” Gilbert said. “It’s just really unfortunate.”
AN ALARMING SPREAD OF GUNPLAY
The unprecedented wave of gun violence began at a frenzied scene at Mariners Harbor on September 14 at 1 p.m., when Prince Edmonds, 21, and a second victim, 22, who survived the incident were shot dead near the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Lockman Avenue.
Spectacular video aftermath of the shooting showed the injured men jumping out of their vehicle as it struck a truck and a clip of an individual wanted for questioning running down the street with what appears to be a gun in his right hand.
Police are investigating whether the shooting is gang-related, a police source told Advance / SILive.com, as Edmonds had a notorious past as a well-known street team member on the island’s north coast. . His family Called him a “protector” of the people he loved and said he tried to put this life behind him.
At 8:46 a.m. the next morning on September 15, Brooklynite Sean Dallas, 29, was picking up his two young children from his girlfriend’s home near Grandview Avenue and Arlington Place in Mariners Harbor when he had a brief argument. verbal behind the ride with another driver in or near this community, a law enforcement source told Advance / SILive.com.
The authorities were not immediately sure what had motivated the argument.
“It was literally a senseless murder for nothing of a guy picking up his kids and road rage,” said Kergen Merrill, a friend from Dallas. “Family is the only thing we have these days,” he said, adding that there were “children without fathers now”.
A few hours later, at 5:02 p.m. the same dayEdmonds friend Cedrick Black was attending a memorial for the 21-year-old killed near their Jersey Street homes when a gunman approached the tribute and shot Black in the chest before fleeing the scene.
Black, a cousin of Mike Perry, project manager of the anti-violence group True2Life, was later pronounced dead – the third gunshot fatality on the island in just over a day.
After Black’s recent release from prison, Perry was hoping to recruit his cousin into True2Life, Advance / SILive.com reported.
“I didn’t want it to end like this for him, although I knew it was a possibility,” said Perry, who was named Project Manager for True2Life about five years ago. “This is a possibility for all of our brothers and sisters who come home from prison with few opportunities.
No arrests were made in any of the shootings.
SPATE HAS LITTLE COMPARISONS IN RECENT HISTORY
Few episodes of gun violence on Staten Island since 2000 have reached the level of violence seen in the spate of shootings in mid-September.
On October 18, 2000, Jerome Hightower, 23, was gunned down in Arlington Terrace apartments, according to Advance records, and two days later – in a separate incident – Damien Byrd, 20, was shot dead in a West Brighton yard near an elementary school. school.
The only stretches that can compare in terms of fatalities included domestic killings with multiple victims in the same incident and did not involve firearms.
In 2006, the drowning murders of Stéphanie Bordes, 2, and Sweitzer Bordes, 4, prevented Jude Carabba, the next day, August 30, from being fatally stabbed.
The heartbreaking Ramada Inn Massacre in 2016, which left three dead – Rebecca Cutler, 26, Ziana Cutler, 1, and Maliyah Sykes, 4 months – represented one of the few times that multiple homicides were reported in a single night in the aforementioned neighborhood. scope.
In 2019, the tragic murder Alla Ausheva, 37, and her two sons, Elia Walker, 3, and Ivan Walker, 2, was the last time three homicides were committed on Staten Island on the same day.
Barry moultrie was shot and killed on a street corner in West Brighton on July 22. Hours later, 25-year-old Kaseem Scott was shot inside a delicatessen in Mariners Harbor. A few days later, Grashino Yancy, 32, was shot and killed in a Clifton barbecue.
A SENSE OF “WITHOUT HOPE”
District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said a confluence of factors, including violence by street teams, coronavirus restrictions and social tensions, are the main causes of a increased gun violence on Staten Island.
While police officials initially said the dismantling of its anti-gun crime unit was the cause of a drop in gun seizures, a series of firearms arrests made by the NYPD in August – months after the unit disbanded – appears to have sparked a lull in this spate of shootings, only for that violence to erupt again in the 28-hour period that began on September 14. .
Another factor, less tangible, can be pointed out as a genesis of violence, according to Gilbert: “despair”.
“Too many young people see the streets as a viable option for success,” said Gilbert, whose work with Occupy the Block aims to provide a male presence to underserved youth. “We find that those who are most desperate engage in the most violent actions because they do not see other alternatives for themselves.”
Gilbert called the attraction of gun violence to young people in Côte-Nord neighborhoods “anchored around the neck,” and said significant resources must be available to combat the desire to “succumb to the streets”. “.
“People need to have conversations with these young people and direct them to resources that can help them make a better choice about whether they want to live a life on the streets, which can eventually end in death, which can eventually end in incarceration, or seize one of the opportunities that could be a resource for them to leave the streets without having any type of loss of life or incarceration, ”Gilbert said.
As the latest wave of shootings resulted in tragedy, Gilbert said there have been moments of positivity this year that have been inspiring.
the “Seven days of good trouble” marches in honor of civil rights leader John Lewis organized by City Councilor Debi Rose; a series of monumental steps on the borough following the police assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis organized by the Young leaders of Staten Island; and the work of anti-violence groups like True2Life are all stepping stones to positive change, according to Gilbert.
“With the involvement of the younger generation, we have an intergenerational type experience where we pull each other up and rely on each other to carry the load,” said Gilbert. “… these are difficult times, but these are times created by individuals who wish to stand up and answer the call that there should not be this type of gun violence in our community, and that we must get up and do something about it. “