It took nearly three months, but the 42nd Precinct in the South Bronx had its first homicide of the year.
On March 7, Jesus Reyes, 41, was charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon for his alleged role in the killing of Spicer Demarra, 25.
Police said the attack happened at about 1:31 p.m. on March 5 outside a Stebbins Avenue apartment building where Demarra lived in Charlotte Gardens. Law enforcement sources said Demarra apparently got into a dispute with Reyes moments before he was fatally attacked. Reyes also lived on the same street.
On March 24, the 42nd Precinct Community Council held its monthly meeting where NYPD Capt. Sean Tablante discussed crime from Feb. 21 to March 21. In addition to having the first murder of the year, there were two shootings within the 42nd Precinct’s coverage zone in the past 28-day period. The shootings took place on Trinity and 163rd Street on March 1, and another one on Freeman Street and Intervale Avenure on March 18.
“Officers saw a group of young teens fleeing the area, one recovered a dropped firearm and an hour later, a call came in from Jacobi Hospital about a walk-in of a 15-year-old who was shot at the intersection of Freeman and Intervale,” Tablante said at the meeting.
According to the captain, the police spoke to witnesses and watched multiple camera footage before making an arrest in the March 18 shooting.
“Fortunately, our victim was in stable condition and was able to identify the shooter,” Tablante said.
The March 1 shooting remains under investigation.
Tablante also discussed car thefts, which continue to plague the South Bronx. After 14 vehicles were stolen within the confines of the 42nd Precinct from Jan. 24 to Feb. 20, thieves were at it again this past month — auto thefts were also up over the same time period last year, 24 to 17. However, unlike the incidents at the beginning of the year, which took place mainly on Southern Boulevard, Third Avenue and Boston Post Road, the thefts over the last month have been scattered throughout the precinct, according to Tablante.
Burglaries have also spiked 33% compared to this time period last year. The captain said the burglaries are primarily taking place after midnight and in the commercial district on Southern Boulevard.
On a positive note, there were nine gun arrests in the last 28 days where 22 guns were taken off the streets, making it 63 gun arrests on the year in the 42nd Precinct.
Tablante also touched on the Mayor Eric Adams’ new Neighborhood Safety Teams (NST) initiative — a newly imagined version of the old anti-crime units that were disbanded in 2020 — where cops will focus on identifying the individuals responsible for violent crimes in an effort to take guns off the street. The teams will begin in the Bronx and Brooklyn, where the most shootings have been reported this year.
One sergeant and five officers from the 42nd Precinct will be members of the new units, and adorned in uniforms disclosing their name, badge number and safety team unit embroidered on it.
“Our NST unit has been carefully chosen and have gone through extensive training with a primary focus on gun violence,” Tablante said. “We’re excited to see what this unit can bring.”
Reach Jason Cohen at email@example.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes