A series of stabbings on East Tremont Avenue has left residents shaken.
On Sunday, November 22, just before 4 a.m., an incident took place just outside of Casa Restaurant and Lounge, located at 3607 East Tremont Avenue, following a verbal dispute that erupted earlier inside the recently opened restaurant.
The altercation began when two males, 46 and 38-years-old, began arguing over a woman at about 3:30 a.m.
After words were exchanged between the two, the dispute turned physical and the melee spilled onto the street in front of the restaurant, according to witnesses.
The argument, police claim, between the two men escalated to a knife fight and continued north to Sullivan Place and eventually to Lafayette Avenue.
It is unknown if the woman was romantically involved with either or both of the individuals.
At about 3:40 a.m., two ambulances responded to the front of Casa’s location to treat both men, who sustained significant injuries.
The 38-year old sustained lacerations to both of his arms, his neck and the back of his head, while the 46-year old had stab wounds to his back and the right side of his head.
Both were taken to Jacobi Hospital. A third victim was treated for a laceration to his right hand and was removed to Weiler Hospital.
According to multiple sources, a trail of blood stains, believed to be from the incident, started from the outside of the restaurant and continued as far as Schuyler Hill Funeral Home, located at 3535 E. Tremont Avenue.
However, it has not yet been confirmed if the trail of blood stains have a direct correlation with Sunday morning’s melee.
“This is a very upsetting and unfortunate incident,” said Martin Prince, chairman of Community Board 10, who said that he plans to work the 45th Precinct on initiatives and solutions to increase safety and security among nighttime businesses in the area. “Maybe this couldn’t have been completely avoided, but it probably could have been handled better – and both the board and the precinct will make sure we keep an eye on night businesses and how they operate.”
“It was like a Hollywood movie set – like a war zone,” recalled a local resident who wished to remain anonymous for the story, referring to the trail of blood. “My belief is that the problem could have stemmed from having too many bars in one circumference – and Casa is more of a night club than it is a bar. Having the (Throggs Neck) Clipper and the Alley Cat Cafe is enough for one area when it comes to nightlife spots.”
“When you have too many nightlife spots in one area, it can be a recipe for disaster – because anything can happen at any time of night.”
As of 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the DCPI confirmed that the search is ongoing and that no arrests have been made.
Assemblyman Michael Benedettto, whose office is across the street from Casa, was critical of the new business in the aftermath of the violence.
“Casa, which only opened ten days ago, is already causing a disturbance in the neighborhood. They have to do a better job of monitoring their clientele and they should do it quickly,” he said.
CB10 called the State Liquor Authority back in February to deny Casa its liquor license because it was located on the same block as another bar, the Throggs Neck Clipper.
This violated the ‘500-foot rule’, an alcoholic beverage control law that restricts multiple alcohol vendors to be within 500 feet or less of each other, as Casa is located only 23 feet from the Clipper.
However, Casa eventually received their license, even after CB10 notified the SLA that Casa should be denied.
Following Sunday morning’s incident, Senator Jeff Klein wrote a letter to the SLA to investigate why Casa’s liquor license was approved, and to have it revoked immediately, after his office spoke with the CB10.
Klein strongly believes that Casa is a night club disguised as a restaurant.
He criticized the SLA’s policy of ignoring the community’s judgment when issuing licenses.
Klein requested that Casa’s license be revoked on the recommendation of the community board.