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Safety Issues Raised Over Rhinelander Building

It’s been a little over a month since a knife wielder was gunned down by police officers, but elected officials and local residents are searching for answers.

A six-story apartment building on 1545 Rhinelander Avenue, a short distance from the 49th Precinct, was the scene of police officers shooting a man who went after them with a six-inch steak knife on Sunday, March 20.

The man, 48-year-old Paul Goldreyer died after officers were forced to shoot him after he refused to drop the weapon he had used to threaten his roommate, 36-year-old Sandy Perez.

According to sources, the 106-unit building houses people with psychological disabilities in human services programs such as Volunteers of America, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, PIBLY Residential Programs, Inc., and FEGS Health and Human Services System, which Goldreyer was enrolled.

Over a month after the incident, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke and the 49th Precinct are still trying to confirm with building owner Hanna Goldberg exactly what goes on and who occupies the apartments, fearing a saturation of tenants with emotional problems inside the building.

“If it were not for this incident, we would not have learned the degree of saturation in this building,” Vacca said. “I am sure the landlord is getting more rent per apartment from these organizations than she would get if she rented privately. Tenants told me she is rarely at the building and when you have this level of saturation with no oversight from the landlord, things can get out of hand.”

According to Officer Victor DiPierro, the 49th Precinct received 111 phones calls from the building in 2010 and 39 so far in 2011.

The officers and local residents are concerned about the conditions of the tenants who inhabit the building and in light of the issue with Goldreyer, the precinct hopes to receive as much information as possible about these particular tenants.

“We get a lot of calls about this location, but there’s only so much we can do with so little information about who lives there,” DiPierro said. “We want to know what we’re dealing with inside the building and the types of disabilities that some residents have. It’s all around a safety issue and it helps our officers know what they are going into.”

From Goldberg, the 49th Precinct would like to know the specific apartments that house these tenants with disabilities, as well as how many of these tenants are actually living in the building at all times.

“We need to know what Hanna has going on there as soon as possible,” Jeremy Warneke said. “Many people have approached me about this and we’ve received calls at the community board office. A lot of members of our community are concerned more than ever.”

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