Brooklyn Heights

Man robbed, stabbed on Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights

Neighbors rush to help; police investigating

June 14, 2023 Mary Frost
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A man walking along Joralemon Street in the shady Willowtown enclave of south Brooklyn Heights was robbed and stabbed early Tuesday morning.

According to an NYPD spokesperson, police received a 911 call of a robbery in progress at Joralemon Street and Columbia Place at 6:33 a.m. Upon arrival, officers from the 84th Precinct observed a 55-year-old man, conscious and alert, with a stab wound to his upper right arm.

A preliminary investigation determined that an unknown male had approached the victim from behind and forcibly removed his bag, wallet and laptop. When the victim tried to retrieve his property, the individual displayed a sharp object and stabbed him one time in the arm, the spokesperson said. The suspect fled southbound on Columbia Place on foot. 

EMS responded and transported the victim to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn in stable condition. There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing, police said. 

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No photo or description of the suspect is available at this time. Neighbors told the Brooklyn Eagle that police were reviewing video footage from a nearby residence.

After the man was stabbed, he made his way to a bench in front of the River Deli, where neighbors, police and the EMS came to his aid. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Neighbors race to help victim

The attack happened in front of a townhouse across the street from the River Deli, a witness who did not wish to be identified told the Eagle. 

The victim had been walking up the Joralemon Street hill from the vicinity of 360 Furman St. at the time.

“I had my window open last night. At 6:30 a.m., I’m guessing, I heard yelling and screaming. I looked out the window and saw there were two people in battle. I could hear these piercing screams of somebody obviously being … it seems like I knew he was being stabbed,” the neighbor said. 

The witness saw the two men separate briefly and then come together again. “I heard these horrendous screams for help and obviously pain, as one could imagine if you were being stabbed. I screamed out the window, ‘Hey, hey, stop that! I’ve called the cops; the cops are on their way!’”

After the attack, the victim crossed Columbia Place to sit on a bench in front of the River Deli.

The witness and her husband raced downstairs and out into the street. “By the time my husband and I got down there, the [perp] had run off and the victim was on that bench in front of the River Deli, bleeding. Some guy had pieces of fabric or a T-shirt or towel, and it seemed like he was making a tourniquet or trying to stop the bleeding. There were multiple people coming towards the situation, asking, ‘What happened, what happened?’ and ‘He got stabbed, he’s bleeding.’” 

The victim was grasping his arm at chest level, the witness said. 

Police arrived after roughly 10 minutes, she said. “Shortly after the first police car got there and saw the situation, all of a sudden a whole bunch of other police cars came.” From five to eight police cars “all came zooming onto the corner, then they dispersed in all different directions, one even going up the street the wrong way and on to Willow Place.”

The victim was helped into an ambulance by several of the people who had gathered on the corner, and was given some immediate treatment by EMS on the spot before the ambulance took off for the hospital, the witness said. 

“There were droplets of blood” near a drain on Joralemon Street, she said. “To be honest with you, I was very shaken up. It just felt so violent … It’s just not great.”

Neighbors told the Brooklyn Eagle that police were reviewing video footage from
a nearby residence. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Beefed up police presence expected this summer 

Joralemon Street is one of the main entrances to Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Willowtown Association has been working to increase police patrols on the street.

“We know there’s an increased presence of the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which we appreciate, and we’re told also that there will be more community presence,” Linda DeRosa, president of the Willowtown Association, told the Eagle. 

“Incidents like this really do demonstrate that we need our patrolmen in our communities, what with summer, warm weather and concerns that we’ve had over the last few months in general about an uptick in crime and violence,” she said.

At a recent 84th Precinct NCO (Neighborhood Coordination Officers) meeting, the 84th Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Adeel Rana, announced that there would be 32 officers in Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer, with four commanders overseeing the officers, DeRosa said. “[This is] the most the 84th has ever had for the park.”

“We did express at that meeting that we wanted to make sure that we had coverage in the community with those officers, not just all in the park at all times,” DeRosa added. “I mentioned Joralemon Street specifically, and we were told that there would be patrols through the communities.” 

In addition to NYPD officers, the park will staff up with more Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) members this summer.

“Our PEP staffing levels for the spring/summer [include] one captain, three sergeants, 15 officers and four additional seasonal officers between July 1-Oct 31,” Brooklyn Bridge Park spokesperson Sarah Krauss told the Eagle in April.

DeRosa said that the Willowtown Association has also been pushing for more video cameras in the park. The group learned at a recent Brooklyn Bridge Community Advisory Council meeting that a high-quality NYPD camera with livestreaming ability will be installed at the park’s entrance, and another existing camera will be upgraded.

Word spreads quickly in Willowtown

Word of the stabbing spread quickly through the tight-knit Willowtown community.

Neighbor Tim Hoenig, a member of the Willowtown board, said he got back from dropping his kids off at around 8:45 a.m. when a neighbor doing some planting at the community garden on Columbia Place told him that another gardener told her that someone had been stabbed that morning. 

“It doesn’t take long, does it? We’re pretty tight,” Hoenig said.

In April, Hoenig had aided an unconscious 17-year-old boy on the steps of his Columbia Place house. The boy, who told Hoenig he had been hit with a bottle and robbed while he was playing basketball on Pier 2, was diagnosed with a concussion and a laceration on the back of his head, and was released from the hospital.

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