Four stray-bullet shootings in Brooklyn since June

July 26, 2019 Noah Goldberg
Joshua Simon of S.O.S. Bed-Stuy speaks at an anti-gun violence rally. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg
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There have been at least four stray-bullet shootings in Brooklyn since the start of June, critically injuring one 11-year-old boy and injuring other teens and adults, even as shooting incidents and victims in the borough are down from last year.

A 13-year-old girl sitting on a park bench in St. Andrews Playground in Bedford-Stuyvesant became the most recent victim of stray-bullet violence when she was struck in the shoulder just before 8 p.m. on Wednesday, cops said. She was the second girl shot by a stray bullet while sitting on a park bench since the start of June. Citywide, 14 people have been hit by stray bullets since the start of June, according to CBS New York.

Just over a month ago, 11-year-old Jayden Grant was left possibly paralyzed after he was hit by a stray bullet on his way home from the barber shop, leading to a march in his honor calling for a shooting-free summer. A 27-year-old man was arrested in the shooting.

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“What we know is that a big part of our problem is coming from a small number of gang and crew members,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday about the stray-bullet shootings. “The best solution is to take down those gangs and crews and have successful prosecutions including successful gun prosecutions,” he said.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced a big gang bust earlier this month, indicting 21 men, some of whom were connected to two separate 2017 murders.

In Brooklyn, homicides and shootings are down from last year, despite the spike in homicides and shootings in northern Brooklyn at the beginning of the year. So far this year, 52 people have been murdered in Brooklyn as opposed to 62 through the same time last year, according to police.

Shootings are also down in the borough. There have been 187 shooting victims this year in the borough as opposed to 206 last year, according to police data.

In certain neighborhoods, however, there has been a drastic spike in sometimes deadly gun violence. In Crown Heights’ 77th Precinct — where 11-year-old Jayden Grant was shot — the number of shooting victims has doubled from last year, while homicides are up 500 percent, from one last year to six already in 2019. In East New York, shootings are also up more than 100 percent on the year, and every single major crime category is up in the precinct, according to police statistics.

Another man was found shot in the head and killed in East New York early Friday morning, police said.

Both Crown Heights and East New York are getting additional officers this summer as part of the city’s “Summer All-Out” program that deployed nearly 300 additional officers to precincts to try to stem violence, but it’s hard to pin down exactly why so many people are being hit by stray bullets.

“I think it’s people not hitting their targets. Some of the people shooting guns are obviously fearful and they’re shooting from a great distance at a target,” said Brian Cunningham, the deputy director of Save Our Streets Brooklyn, a group that seeks to curb gun violence from within the community. Cunningham said the stray bullet incidents were troubling.

“We’re seeing an uptick and it’s kind of scary,” he said. “We are trying to get to the heart of how do we mediate conflict, where it doesn’t get to the point where innocent children and bystanders are hit by stray bullets.”

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