On Monday, February 23, a pack of teenagers rolled down Gerard Avenue, two blocks off the Grand Concourse. One shot 15-year old Ruben Redman in the head. Redman died.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly blames graffiti. According to Kelly, Redman was murdered for scrawling over someone else’s tag.
At 9:18 p.m., the pack cornered Redman and two 17-year olds near 1225 Gerard Avenue, down the block from PS 218. Redman sustained a gun wound to the back. He was transported to Lincoln Hospital, dead on arrival.
One of Redman’s friends was grazed in the head. The other took a bullet to his leg. Devin Mojica, 16, watched the shooting from a deli at E. 168th Street and Gerard.
“I was here at the window drinking coffee,” Mojica said. “I saw a lot of kids walking down the street. Then I heard seven fast shots. I dropped my coffee.”
Mojica, who lives opposite the murder scene, knew Redman from pickup basketball games at PS 218. Redman, nicknamed “Spider,” attended the Coalition School for Social Change in Manhattan.
“He was good at art,” Mojica said. “He’d bring a notebook to the basketball court and draw. I never knew he’d die this way.”
Officer Warren Thompson of the 46th Precinct shed light on Redman’s murder.
“In the graffiti world, if you tag a building and I have beef with you, I’ll put a line through your tag,” Thompson said. “If I see you there’ll be words, or worse.”
Redman wasn’t part of a gang, Mojica said. He probably quarreled with the wrong person.
“Shootings happen to anybody who acts tough to a gang member,” Legare said. “It’s a problem in the neighborhood.”
According to Mojica, the shooter wore a blue hat and coat. After firing on Redman, he rushed down E. 168th Street towards the 4 train.
“In this neighborhood, it’s always the same,” Mojica said. “People call up to my window, but I stay inside. They could be trying to get rid of me, too.”
The murder shook Sidney Flores, Mount Eden’s guardian angel.
“If these graffiti guys are walking around with guns, that’s scary,” Flores said.
“Graffiti is something young people think doesn’t hurt,” Thompson said. “It does.”