Another shooting in Coney, after July 4 festivities end

July 8, 2015 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Just days after local pols called for a multi-pronged effort to help curb gun violence in Coney Island, a man was shot in the hand and knee less than an hour after the nabe’s traditional Fourth of July fireworks display came to a close.

According to cops, a 55-year-old man was sitting on a milk crate near West 15th Street and Neptune Avenue when he was shot around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. The shooting, sources said, left those there for the festivities grid-locked and concerned.

“Emergency vehicles started to pour in from both directions, and at some point they completely stopped traffic,” Staten Island resident Megan Padovano told this paper. Padovano, after watching the fireworks with her boyfriend, was heading back to her car around the time of the shooting when she noticed ambulances struggling to move through the mesh of cars and pedestrian crowds. “We sat in the parking lot on a line that was at a complete standstill for about 30 minutes before slowly making our way to Surf Avenue.

“I think that the cops handled it the best that they could under the circumstances,” Padovano went on, also stressing that, with improved gun control, incidents like this could be better avoided. “It was a really scary scene, especially being the Fourth of July, when we were there to celebrate America, and it ended in turmoil.”

According to Councilmember Mark Treyger, the Independence Day incident was at least the 13th shooting in the 60th Precinct – which covers Sea Gate, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, West Brighton Beach and Bensonhurst – since the beginning of the year.

“[The Fourth of July incident] equals the fifth shooting in the past couple of weeks. This is not acceptable and this will not be tolerated by myself or my district,” said the Coney Island pol who, on Monday, June 29, stood with State Senator Diane Savino, community leaders and residents to demand action from the de Blasio administration, the NYPD and the Parks Department in stopping the spike, especially in the neighborhood’s residential west end.

Despite immediate action from newly-inducted Deputy Inspector of the 60th Precinct and former Captain of the 62nd Precinct William Taylor, Treyger says there is more to be done, and from every angle.

“[Taylor] made the decision to remove some of the summer detail from the beach and Boardwalk to patrol residential areas,” Treyger said, quick to commend the inspector for his move. “The time has come for the Police Department to step up [expanding the Summer All Out and One City: Safe and Fair Initiative to the 60th Precinct] and, in addition, for the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers to control the two-and-a-half-mile beach and Boardwalk. [Parks] cannot just place that on the police officers; they have other people to protect.”

Treyger also attributed the rise in shootings to a lack of Superstorm Sandy funding.

“We also have to be mindful that some of these incidents are occurring a block or two away from Sandy-destroyed NYCHA community centers,” he said. “When we’re asking residents to make better choices in their lives but are not providing them with better opportunities to make those choices, I think it falls on the government to stop making excuses to get that Sandy funding into this community.”

At the end of the day, Treyger said, the solution is truly a multifaceted one.

“We need greater police presence, we need added PEP officers, and we need to make sure we’re providing our youth and our families with meaningful opportunities to be engaged,” he said, “especially during the summer months.

“This is going to require an all-hands-on-deck approach, and we’re highlighting this because we really need the highest level of government to commit to greater attention to this very serious issue,” Treyger said.

By press time, the Parks Department had not responded to a request for comment.


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