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What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, January 18, 2023

January 18, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BURGLARS MAKE OFF WITH CBD PRODUCTS AND CASH

WILLIAMSBURG — Police are seeking two perpetrators in an armed robbery in Williamsburg on Monday night. The men entered High Cloud Exotics located at 390 Broadway near Division Ave. around 11:45 p.m., where one displayed a silver firearm and both males proceeded to remove approximately $2,000 from the cash register, CBD products and store merchandise worth approximately $700.

The thieves, described as having medium builds, approximately 20-to-30 years of age, and wearing dark clothing, also removed the victim’s cell phone and wallet before fleeing westbound in a black vehicle, on Division Avenue.

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NY’S CONCEALED CARRY LAW CAN REMAIN IN EFFECT

NATIONAL — The United States Supreme Court on Wednesday, Jan. 18 ruled to allow New York’s Firearm Dealer Laws and Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) to remain in effect pending appeal. The Supreme Court declined to block a number of firearm dealer laws and provisions of the CCIA that were challenged in the case Gazzola v. Hochul.

This action by the Supreme Court follows another decision from last week to uphold a stay issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Antonyuk v. Nigrelli.

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BREAKING: AMBER ALERT

Missing Child: Alicia Adelegbe.

BROOKLYN — A Missing Child Alert has been issued for Alicia Adelegbe, an 18-year-old Brooklyn girl with medical conditions and who may be in imminent danger. Alicia is described as being 5’7″ tall, 235lbs, with black hair and black eyes, and was last seen on Williams Ave. in eastern Brooklyn around 10:10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18. She was wearing a black jacket with a fur hood, black sweater, black pants, yellow and red beanie and wearing multi-colored sneakers.

Anyone seeing her is urged to call the NYCPD Missing Person Squad at 718-827-3511, or call 9-1-1.

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NY STATE TAX RECEIPTS EXCEED LATEST PROJECTIONS

STATEWIDE — State tax receipts totaled $79.8 billion through the third quarter of State Fiscal Year 2022-23 (April 1-March 31) — exceeding the latest projections from the Division of the Budget’s Mid-Year Update to the State Financial Plan by nearly $7.7 billion, according to the monthly State Cash Report from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report showed that year-to-date consumption and use tax collections totaled $15.5 billion, including $14.3 billion from sales and use taxes, which were 4.6% ($679.5 million) higher than for the same period last year, and $85.7 million higher than the Budget Division anticipated.

Although business taxes totaled $19.3 billion, higher than by $1 billion (5.5%) more than for the prior fiscal year, they were $761.1 million below the Budget Division’s latest financial plan projections.

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ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE TO USE $1.5M TO UPGRADE NURSING SIMULATION LAB

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — St. Francis College, which expanded and moved its main campus to Downtown Brooklyn, will receive $1.5 million from Congress as part of the final omnibus funding package for Fiscal Year 2023. The College, which opened its new home at 179 Livingston St. last September, will utilize the money to upgrade technology in its nursing simulation lab, which is used by both the school’s nursing students as well as community partners in health care and K-12 education.

The simulation lab improves the quality of SFC’s nursing education program and prepares future nurses to offer exceptional, compassionate care across New York City.

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BROOKLYN GETS $24M FROM CONGRESS FOR SOCIAL AND HEALTH CARE SERVICES

BOROUGHWIDE — Brooklyn will receive $24 million in new funding, thanks to New York’s two U.S. Senators and Brooklyn leaders in the House of Representatives. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries, on Wednesday, Jan. 18 secured a total of $24,394,000 for projects across the borough as part of the final omnibus funding package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. Among the recipients are St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn; Churches United for Fair Housing; Kings County Hospital Center and Maimonides Medical Center for improvements to health care facilities; St. Nicks Alliance for its anti-violence initiatives; and CAMBA Inc. for its Career Navigation Initiative.

CAMBA received the highest amount of funding at $3,590,000 to create a program for meaningful career paths, and will house its program services at five nearby community centers, four of which are in NYCHA developments.

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NY STATE SENATE REJECTS NOMINATION OF APPELLATE COURT’S HECTOR LASALLE AS CHIEF JUDGE

ALBANY — Saying “The nomination is lost,” State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, chair of the Judiciary Committee, announced that Appellate Court-2nd Department Judge Hector LaSalle was not confirmed, representing also a rejection of Governor Kathy Hochul’s choice for the state’s chief judicial post. The vote was 2 in favor, 10 opposing and 7 “without determination.”

Brooklyn State Senators Andrew Gounardes (D-22) and Zellnor Myrie (D-20) were among those who voted to oppose the confirmation of Judge Hector LaSalle. Judge LaSalle’s courthouse is on Monroe Place in Brooklyn Heights.

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CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING AND STEALING FROM HOMEOWNERS IN FORECLOSURE

MIDWOOD — A disbarred Midwood attorney has been charged with stealing the deeds to four properties, three of which were in foreclosure, for a total of approximately $2.3 million by defrauding homeowners, most of whom believed he was negotiating a short sale on their behalf. Sanford Solny, 65, of Midwood, Brooklyn, Albany Ave. Realty Inc., East 100 St. Realty Inc., Pleasant Pl. Realty Inc., and Bear Realty & Management Corp. were arraigned on Wednesday, Jan. 18 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an 8-count indictment stemming from a real estate fraud scheme to steal deeds, possess those properties, and economically benefit from four residential properties in Brooklyn, targeting victims who owned properties that were in foreclosure.

The four properties are on Albany Avenue in East Flatbush, East 100th Street in Canarsie, Sutter Avenue in East New York and Pleasant Place in Ocean Hill.

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LASALLE CONFIRMATION HEARING: MORE ON COURT REFORM

ALBANY — During Wednesday’s State Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, State Sen. Thomas F. O’Mara, (R-58th S.D.) asked Chief Judge nominee Hector LaSalle how he would reform the courts. LaSalle replied that people need to have conversations with the Bar [associations and members], Bench and among the various courts (such as Family Court, Matrimonial, Court, and gave as an example cases involving domestic abuse.

While LaSalle said he doesn’t disagree with the concept of consolidating the courts, he added there is no sense of what it would look like. He pointed out that such reforms would have to be implemented “with the eye of inclusion,” taking into consideration practitioners, public defenders, homemakers, and judges, who have aired concerns about the pitfalls of doing this.

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JUDGE LASALLE QUESTIONED ON CONSOLIDATING NEW YORK STATE COURTS

ALBANY — Answering questions from State Senator Kevin Thomas of Nassau County about the complexities of the New York Court System — albeit with the word “Unified” in its name — and whether he’s in favor of eliminating the county and local courts, instead putting them under the jurisdiction of the state Supreme court, LaSalle said that he would be willing to “talk with the stakeholders involved” on how the court system can be made more efficient. Also, defending his record on civil rights, abortion and labor, LaSalle insisted that the public should not infer from his record or personal views that he was conservative.

Justice LaSalle is the presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the Second Judicial Department, New York State Supreme Court, and handles civil and criminal appeals from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester County and other counties in the Hudson Valley area.

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SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE GRILLS CHIEF JUDGE NOMINEE LASALLE

ALBANY — Judge Hector LaSalle, whom the New York State Senate’s Judiciary Committee had been questioning on Wednesday, Jan. 18, during his confirmation hearing, pointed out that none of the state senators interrogating him had asked certain questions that he expected, including on the reversal of convictions. State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-22) of Bay Ridge had also earlier asked him how narrowly or broadly he interprets statutes, and whether he uses sources other than these documents, such as legal precedent, for his rulings. He also answered questions about the distinctions in Miranda rights for children and adults.

Judge LaSalle’s nomination by Gov. Kathy Hochul has engendered controversy among progressives who fear that the Democrat candidate is anti-abortion and anti-union based on some of his previous rulings.

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CHURCH FOUNDED IN 1654 SET TO INDUCT NEW MINISTER

The Rev. Cheri Kroon of Old First Reformed Church. Photo: Courtesy of Ken Beer.

PARK SLOPE — The congregation of Old First Reformed Church, one of three collegiate churches founded in 1654 when Brooklyn (then spelled Breukelen) was under Dutch leadership, will install its new senior minister, the Rev. Cheri Kroon, on Sunday, Jan. 29. Rev. Kroon, who with her family has lived in Park Slope for 20 years, was ordained by the United Church of Christ and has been serving the Reformed Church of America for the last ten years; first at Flatbush Reformed Church here in Brooklyn.

Rev. Kroon holds a master’s degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in opera from the University of Maryland.

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MAN DIES IN MYSTERY CANARSIE SHOOTING

CANARSIE – Police officers responding to a 911 call in Canarsie on the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 17 discovered an unresponsive 40-year-old man lying on the street with a gunshot wound to the torso. EMS personnel transported the man to Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased.

There have been no arrests in regard to this incident, say police, and identification of the deceased is pending family notification.

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CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD FINES BROOKLYN BP, OTHER OFFICIALS

CITYWIDE – NYC’s Campaign Finance Board voted on Tuesday to levy fines against some of New York’s elected officials for misdoings during the 2021 election cycle, including nearly $7,000 in penalties for Brooklyn BP Antonio Reynoso. The bulk of Reynoso’s fines were for the violation of accepting prohibited donations.

Also fined were City Council candidate Francisco Moya and Public Advocate candidate Vito Fossela, who were each assigned substantially lower penalty amounts.

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MAN SLASHED IN FACE DURING DISPUTE AT ‘DANGEROUS’ BUILDING

PROSPECT LEFFERTS GARDENS – A resident of an apartment building near Prospect Park was non-fatally slashed in the face during a dispute on Tuesday night, reports ABC News. According to tenants, such a bloody event is not out of character for the building, which one resident compared to a fake designer handbag: “It looks luxurious on the outside but on the inside, it’s really kind of scary.” A previous incident at the building just last month involved a violent robbery of thousands in cash and jewelry.

Tenants are now reportedly considering a rent strike until building safety improves.

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FLATBUSH FAMILIES DISPLACED AFTER FOUR-ALARM FIRE

FLATBUSH – Tenants of a Flatbush apartment building devastated by a December fire are now struggling to find housing after the blaze destroyed their homes, rendering them unlivable and in some cases claiming all their possessions. Gothamist reports that while the city initially paid to put the thirteen affected families up in hotel rooms while the landlord repaired their units, that funding has now run out and residents are on their own with no news as to when those repairs might be finished.

The tenants’ notorious landlord, Brian Ritter, came in second in last month’s landlord watchlist, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development shows a shocking 426 open violations for the building in question.

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LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR REPARATIONS COMMISSION 

ALBANY – Brooklyn state Senator Jabari Brisport, along with Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Chair Michelle Solages, has backed a measure that would establish a commission to investigate the need for reparations to people whose ancestors were enslaved or impacted by racially based economic discrimination in New York, according to Spectrum News. The commission would hold hearings on the subject and make recommendations to the legislature on racial economic justice.

“This legislation will make our state a leader in a necessary national conversation about restitution, and create a path towards addressing centuries of racial harm,” said Brisport.

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BQE BEFORE AND AFTER: VIDEO SHOWS CHANGING BROOKLYN 

BROOKLYN – A video showing a before-and-after of the track the BQE takes through Brooklyn has gone viral on Twitter, according to Brooklyn Magazine, highlighting what the account, called Segregation by Design, describes as urban planning choices that created economic disparities in communities of color. The video shows aerial images from 1924 and 1984 side-by-side and highlights the expressway’s route through what were previously residential areas.

The rebuilding plan for the section of the BQE that wraps around Brooklyn Heights has caused consternation in the local community after preliminary plans were released last month.

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SUNY APPOINTS BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR TO JOIN LEADERSHIP TEAM

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – The Board of Trustees of the State University of New York has voted to appoint Brooklyn Law School adjunct professor Kapil Longani to SUNY Chancellor John B. King’s leadership team, effective immediately. Longani, who will serve as Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs & General Counsel, was previously Chief Counsel to the Mayor for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“These exemplary leaders are passionate about student success, diversity and inclusion and have state and national experience in breaking down barriers for our most vulnerable populations, as well as leading policies to improve social mobility,” said Chancellor King of Longani and fellow appointees Donna Linderman and Ian Rosenblum.

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KIDS ENJOY THREE KINGS DAY WITH THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT

SUNSET PARK – Elementary-school children at P.S. 1/‘The Bergen’ got a huge treat when Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and Councilmember Alexa Avilés teamed up with the National Supermarket Association to bring them “Three Kings Day” last week. Four hundred children in the first through third grades shared the significance of ‘Three Kings Day,’ celebrating cultural traditions and giving back to their communities, and each received gifts ranging from Easy-Bake Ovens to soccer balls, action figures and game sets like Checkers.

“Día de Los Reyes’ isn’t just about toys and presents, it’s about the traditions that have crossed borders and passed through generations,” said Reynoso, who is the first Latino elected to the Brooklyn Borough Presidency.

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CITY HOSPITAL SYSTEM NAMES SYSTEM CHIEF FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

CONEY ISLAND — NYC Health + Hospitals has appointed Omar Fattal, MD, MPH of its Coney Island/southern Brooklyn location as System Chief for Behavioral Health and co-Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Fattal will lead the system’s efforts to expand psychiatric and substance use services, run innovative training programs for behavioral health staff and implement strategies to recruit and retain staff. He is also a psychiatrist at the Pride Clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

More than a decade ago, Dr. Fattal co-founded the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH), an organization of healthcare professionals that works to achieve equity in health, with a focus on sexual health within marginalized groups.

Dr. Omar Fattal will oversee behavioral health at NYC Health + Hospitals. Photo: NYC Health + Hospitals.

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PUBLIC HEARING ON STORES SELLING FLAVORED VAPE PRODUCTS TO KIDS

CITYWIDE – Parents concerned with the proliferation of unlicensed smoke and vape shops in NYC are invited to a public hearing at City Hall this Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 10 a.m., also being offered via Zoom. The public hearing will focus on the so-called “convenience stores” that continue to sell kid-friendly candy-flavored cigarettes and vaping paraphernalia, even though the sale of flavored vapes has been illegal in NYC since 2019. People will be given the opportunity to provide testimony and tell lawmakers that action is needed; register in advance via email at [email protected].

The hearing will also address concerns about the entry and peddling of cannabis to youth.

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SCANDINAVIAN MUSEUM IN BROOKLYN OPENS ESSAY CONTEST ON NORWEGIAN RESISTANCE

BAY RIDGE – Elementary school students of Scandinavian heritage, or those impassioned by Norwegian history, are invited to participate in the Scandinavian East Coast Museum’s annual essay contest, this year focusing on the Norwegian Resistance during World War II. Students in the fourth through sixth grades may select from a number of topics, choosing one person, group or story that exemplifies this movement, such as the Teachers’ Resistance — a harrowing story of how the schoolteachers of Norway stood together to resist teaching Nazi propaganda — or the 99th Battalion, many of whose members were from Brooklyn.

Two winners will be selected from the contest, now in its second decade, with prizes including the opportunity for winners to read their essays at Viking Fest 2023. Essays, which can be typed or handwritten at a maximum of three pages, should be submitted no later than Feb. 28 to the Scandinavian East Coast Museum, 440 Ovington Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11209.

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PARKS DEPT’S MULCHFEST SETS NEW RECORD IN TREES COLLECTED, WITH MARINE PARK LEADING BROOKLYN

MARINE PARK – The southeastern Brooklyn neighborhood of Marine Park led the borough in the number of Christmas trees collected for tree-cycling during Mulchfest 2023, which the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation sponsors. Marine Park residents brought 3,404 trees, contributing toward a record-breaking Parks Department total of 58,309 trees.

The NYC Parks Department has, for more than 20 years, collected and mulched trees to help plant beds and community gardens around the city grow. Mulchfest 2023 ran from Dec. 26 through Jan. 8, with 73 total drop-off sites — 34 being chipping sites — across the five boroughs, including city parks and GreenThumb gardens.

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RISE IN NUMBER OF HANDGUNS STOPPED AT TSA CHECKPOINTS

CITY AIRPORTS – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped 39 handguns at New York City area airport checkpoints during 2022, a 33 percent increase from the 26 guns caught in 2021, according to a new report from the federal Department of Homeland Security. All firearms were discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at airport security checkpoints, with the biggest jump in the number of firearms seen at LaGuardia Airport, where TSA officers detected 11 handguns in 2022.

Although John F. Kennedy International Airport was the only aiport in the NYC metropolitan area noting a decrease in the number of firearms brought to checkpoints — with seven guns last year — it was the same airport where the now infamous gun-toting peanut butter jars, containing the dissembled weapons, were detected in a traveler’s luggage on Dec. 22.

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CLEANING AND BEAUTIFYING SHORE ROAD PARK

BAY RIDGE – Ongoing cleanup of Shore Road Park has been a priority for the Bay Ridge Environment Group, with the next work date scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m., at 75th Street. Volunteers can bring family and friends to the group effort, which will run for about 90 minutes.

Shore Road Park, which stretches 4.5 miles alongside the Belt Parkway from the American Veterans Memorial Pier to Bensonhurst Park, offers spectacular views of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and sunsets. It also contains Vinland Playground, honoring both the rich Norwegian heritage of the Bay Ridge community and the Leif Ericson discovery of America.

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POLICE ARREST KNIFE-WIELDING SUSPECT FOR MARINE PARK MURDER

EAST FLATBUSH – Police on Tuesday morning, Jan. 17 arrested and charged an East Flatbush man as a suspect in the Jan. 10 stabbing of a 30-year-old male in Marine Park, within the 63rd Precinct. Ansel Payano, 34, of East 51st St., is charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the death of Nessim Sahalon of Bensonhurst/Mapleton.

The victim, who had been stabbed in the chest, was pronounced deceased upon arrival at NYC Health and Hospitals/Kings County.

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MAIMONIDES AGAIN RANKS # 1 IN SURGICAL CARE

BOROUGH PARK – Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park ranks #1 in New York for Surgical Care and Orthopedic Surgery, according to a new analysis that Healthgrades, the leading marketplace connecting doctors and patients, has released. Moreover, Healthgrades has also named Maimonides Medical Center as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery, making it the only hospital in New York State to receive the 2023 America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Surgical Care Award and the only hospital in New York City to receive America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Orthopedic Surgery Award for two consecutive years.

For the state ranking analysis, Healthgrades evaluated clinical performance for nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide, focusing on 18 key specialties across a mix of chronic, urgent and surgical specialty areas.

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OPENING STATEMENTS TO BE GIVEN IN FIFA BRIBERY TRIAL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – The trial of two former Fox executives accused of paying bribes to a member group of international soccer organization FIFA in order to secure lucrative broadcasting rights to South American soccer events was scheduled to begin Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 9 a.m. The New York Times, in a detailed breakdown of the case, speculates that this trial could shine an embarrassing light on Fox Sports, which has denied any knowledge of the bribery.

This latest trial is another dark spot on FIFA’s record after a sprawling 2015 corruption investigation yielded dozens of convictions over the last decade.

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POLICE SEEK WOMAN MISSING FROM BROOKLYN COLLEGE

MIDWOOD – Police are searching for Rhea Butt, 19, who was last seen on the Brooklyn College campus the morning of Jan. 9. She is described as around 5’7″ and 130 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair and was last seen wearing a beige jacket, black jeans and white sneakers.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

Missing woman Rhea Butt.

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SENIOR ATTACKED BY YOUTHS IN CONEY ISLAND TRAFFIC ARGUMENT

CONEY ISLAND – On the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 11, a 71-year-old man engaged in a traffic dispute with a group of unknown people at the intersection of Avenue T and Coney Island Avenue. Multiple members of the group punched the victim about the face and threw him to the ground, before fleeing the scene in a black car.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

Have you seen these men? All tips are confidential.
Have you seen these men? All tips are confidential.
The car used by the suspects.

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JURY SELECTION IN TRIAL OF MEXICAN OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF CARTEL CONNECTION

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Jury selection was scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. in the trial of Genaro Garcia Luna, formerly the head of Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI, who stands accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribe money over nearly twenty years of service in exchange for aiding the Sinaloa drug cartel in its criminal activities. ABC News reports that Luna’s charges stem from the investigation into El Chapo, who was convicted in 2019.

The conviction of the notorious drug lord El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman, was upheld in January of last year, and he is currently serving a life sentence.

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MAN SHOT DEAD NEAR BARCLAYS CENTER

PROSPECT HEIGHTS – On the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 16, police officers responded to a 911 call of a male shot in front of 45 4th Avenue and upon arrival observed a 32-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the chest. EMS responded to the location and transported the victim to Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing, say police; the identity of the deceased is pending family notification.

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TEENAGER’S BODY FOUND IN BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK

DUMBO – The body of a 13-year-old girl was found on the riverbank in Brooklyn Bridge Park near Fulton Ferry Landing on Monday morning, reports the Daily News. Police sources say that the girl had been reported missing on Sunday and may have been suffering from bipolar disorder.

The death is not believed to be suspicious at this time.


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