Twenty-year-old in Hospital After Refusing to Drop BB Gun

Mamadou Balde has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and menacing after the incident that drew police to the Cocoa House on Grant Highway early morning on Friday, April 22.

Twenty-year-old Balde is recovering in Lincoln Hospital after having been shot 10 times after he refused police orders to drop a real-looking gun replica.

Police were called to the club on Grant Highway and Jerome Avenue after a brawl broke out. Police say Balde, who lives in the Bronx, emerged from the fracas waving the gun, which later was determined to be a BB gun.

Jose Rodriguez, district manager of Community Board 4, wants to use the incident to get people in his area to take a look at some of its establishments and reassess who should get liquor licenses.

The Cocoa House is not officially a bar, but more of a hall that people can rent out for parties on a night by night basis. It is popular with Highbridge’s west African-American Community.

Rodriguez said the incident is another example of nightlife in his area getting out of control.

“It’s a quality of life issue; noise, individuals congregating outside and in this instance you have some violence, its an unfortunate thing,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez believes examining the issuing of liquor licenses in his district would be one way to improve quality of life, and although closing bars probably wouldn’t stop all violence, it might at least limit it.

“Due to this I’m going to recommend to our board to look at these types of establishments and cabarets and rethink our policy and issuing liquor licenses,” he said.

Rodriguez said a suspension of all liquor licenses may be in order.

“At this particular point in time it may come down to that,” he said. “These property owners have not respected the community.”

The board can only make a recommendation as to who gets the licenses, the State Liquor Authority has the final say.

As for Balde, the Cocoa House incident was not the first time in his 20 years he has been shot. He survived a 2007 shooting in Manhattan that involved him flashing gang signs.

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