Rash of shootings affect several normally quiet east Bronx communities

Rash of shootings affect several normally quiet east Bronx communities
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

A spate of violence in several parts of a normally quiet 45th Precinct has some in the community on edge.

Several gun shootings and a stabbing rattled Westchester Square, Throggs Neck and Co-op City and raised concerns that we may be in for a surprise this summer.

In two of the instances, including in Pearly Gates Playground, people were shot or grazed in the head.

Community activist Sandi Lusk of the Westchetser Square Zerega Improvement Organization said that that a shooting on the evening of Sunday, June 12 which saw a teenager rushed to Jacobi Medical Center after being shot in the head, is raising a call for more police presence.

“It is a playground that has always been at risk,” said Lusk of the park on Westchester Avenue, where she has operated youth programing for 25 years. “What we would like is for the police to step up patrols in the evenings, or (just) generally, around that playground.”

WSZIO, with funding from Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Metro Optics, will be operating a children’s mini-summer program in Pearly Gates Playground on successive Saturdays from Saturday, July 23 to Saturday, August 13.

The playground had once been prone to crime, she said, but in recent years the park has seen rejuvenation and a renovation with funding secured by Councilman James Vacca.

“It has always been a very fragile balance,” said Lusk, adding that on June 12, the balance tipped in the wrong direction.

Joanna Bimonte, a Zerega resident who lives near Pearly Gates, concurred with Lusk, and said that it seems that the area does receive as much police attention as in the past.

In Throggs Neck, in front of 852 Revere Avenue, a man was grazed in the head in an dispute that may have started on one of the nearby highways, police sources said.

A man in a red Dodge Caravan opened fire on the victim after a verbal dispute, according to police, at approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15. A second perpetrator drove the minivan, cops said.

The victim, an adult, was taken to the hospital in stable condition, a police source stated. Published reports linked the attack to a variety of causes, including road range and contraband cigarettes.

One of the neighbors on the scene said that the shooting left bullet holes in some homes and blood in the street.

“This neighborhood is not prone to this kind of violence” said a neighbor Alex Chillak, adding “Throggs Neck is usually very quiet.”

He said that he believes that there has been a rise in crime in Throggs Neck and elsewhere, despite statistics to the contrary.

In Co-op City, there was both a shooting and a stabbing over a two-day period.

Police officers responded to 100 Einstein Loop at 7:40 p.m on Wednesday, June 15 and found that the victim had been followed into an elevator and stabbed after a dispute, according to a police source.

The victim was taken to Jacobi Medical Center in stable condition, cops stated.

The next day, at 4:58 a.m., cops responded to a fourth floor apartment at 100 Carver Loop, where a person inside said two shots were fired at a door leading to a building hallway.

–with Steven Goodstein

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.