Community reacts: Facebook post causes 45th Precinct stir

Bob Bieder (l) and Annie Boller (r) during one of the 45th Precinct Community Council meetings on February 1.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

The 45th Precinct community is still reeling over a Facebook picture posted on Friday, May 18.

The photo depicted 21-year-old Kelvin S. Rodriguez holding a gun while standing in front of a 45th Precinct squad car that was parked along Frisby Avenue.

Rodriguez, who also lives on Frisby Avenue, was arrested on Sunday, May 20, and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and making ‘terroristic threats’.

Even though Rodriguez was apprehended, community members are still fuming over his disgraceful disrespect for our men and women in blue.

“This is disturbing and downright scary,” said Annie Boller, a member of the 45th Pecinct Community Council.

“To know there is a good chance that basically anyone you pass on the street could be carrying a gun is mind boggling,” continued Boller, who explained she was a licensed gun owner once and that her permit dictated she could not remove it from her home.

The Westchester Square resident was taken to Bronx Criminal Court for a pre-arraignment meeting before a judge on Sunday, May 20, where he was released on his own recognizance.

An area resident said many neighbors have complained about Rodriguez’s behavior over the last few years.

“There are luxury cars that (stop in front of his house) at 11 p.m. honking their horns and someone runs out and gives them something,” said the resident.

“I see the people at that house smoking all the time and they probably all carry guns,” the resident claimed.

On Monday, May 21, NYPD did not state whether they were able to uncover the actual gun in the picture, according to Bob Bieder from the community council.

However, they do think the weapon was real and not a toy, Bieder suggested.

“He was just trying to show off to his friends,” said Bieder. “Just a stupid kid with a gun and that’s frightening in and of itself.”

Bieder explained the very action of standing next to a police car with a gun is considered making a terroristic threat.

Others in the community recalled the conversation circulating on social media about the photo.

Most of conversation revolved around whether someone with an illegal weapon in front of a marked police car would try to fire that weapon at officers inside, like the tragic death of police officer Miosotis Familia in July of 2015.

“I don’t know this kid’s record or history,” said John Provetto, a long time resident of the community. “But if his gun is illegal, he probably does not mean to do good things with it.”

Provetto started the COPSHOT program, a fund that provides money to those who help identify suspects who shoot and kill police officers.

No police officers were physically harmed by Rodriguez.

“This is a community that respects, admires and genuinely cares about their women and men in blue,” said district manager of Community Board 10, Matt Cruz.

“The gentleman’s actions are not indicative of the greater community within the 45th Precinct.”

Rodriguez is due back in Bronx Criminal Court on Monday, June 25.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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