From Saturday night to Sunday afternoon seven people were killed and four were injured in New York, raising concerns about gun violence in the city, though the overall crime rate is still at a record low. On Saturday, 36-year-old Julio Yasser was shot on Church Avenue in Brooklyn, 25-year-old Nestor Suazo was killed and his girlfriend was injured outside an East Tremont Avenue grocery store in the Bronx, and 34-year-old Kevin Brye was found behind a building in East Harlem. Early on Sunday morning, Lacount Simmons, 39, and Calvin Clinkscales, 43, were both shot in the head outside the Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and 76-year-old bystander Herbert Brown died later in the hospital. In the afternoon, 24-year-old David Hooks was found dead on Briggs Avenue in the Bronx. The five incidents more than quadrupled the city’s weekly murder rate, bringing it from two last year to ten this year.
At the African-American Day Parade on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that it was a “tough night,” but said, “I want people to focus on the three big takedowns last week: the heroin ring in Brooklyn, the gang in the Bronx, and the K2 [synthetic marijuana] takedown citywide.” He added, “Those are all going to have a big impact in the coming weeks on lowering crime.”
De Blasio said that the Ingersoll shooting “appears to be criminals against criminals,” but the NYPD still takes the situation seriously. “We’ve put a lot of money into Ingersoll and other housing projects, and we’re not going to let this situation stop us from continuing to drive down crime,” he said. Police sources told the New York Post that they believe all of the victims were the intended targets except for Brown.
While de Blasio tried to highlight that historically the city is safer than it’s been in years, Governor Andrew Cuomo said it’s more proof that the nation needs stricter gun laws. “The madness has to stop and has to stop in Washington,” Cuomo said during a breakfast at the Harlem Tavern before the parade. “The guns aren’t coming from the state anymore. They are coming from Virginia, they are coming from down South and they’re bringing the guns in.”
A Cuomo aide died after he was hit by a stray bullet on Labor Day weekend. “Carey Gabay hasn’t even been buried and we’re in the midst of, in my district in Ingersoll, three horrific shootings,” Councilmember Laurie Cumbo told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s really taking a toll on the community as a whole.”