West Farms Shooting Sparks Change

Assemblyman Sepulveda consoles Yvonne Rodriguez as they stand beside the memorial to her slain son, Ray Rosello.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

This past Sunday’s fatal shooting of a 20-year old man in West Farms has many in the community demanding change.

According to a NYPD spokesman, police responded to a 911 call on Sunday, July 19 at 12:45 a.m. of a man shot at 2081 Vyse Avenue, within the confines of the 48th Precinct.

Upon arrival, emergency responders observed Ray Rosello, 20, with gunshot wounds to his torso and rushed him to St. Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police said they are looking for Alfonso Skeeter, 27, described as an African American male approximately six feet tall, in connection with this homicide.

Skeeter, a 2311 Southern Boulevard resident, faces murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon charges, according to police.

On Sunday, July 19, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda met with Yvonne Rodriguez, Rosello’s mother. Rodriguez has been an active member of the West Farms community and has worked with Assemblyman Sepulveda on numerous projects.

Her annual summer block party which encourages community involvement, is set for Saturday, July 25, and will go on as planned. It will be dedicated to her son’s memory.

Assemblyman Sepulveda, who lives a few blocks from where Rosello wasshot, explained that over the last coupleof years there has been a concentrationof shootings occurring in the corridorcomposed of Vyse Avenue, East 180th Street, East 181st Street, Vidalia Park and Daly Avenue.

In addition to the Rosello shooting, Sepulveda said a 26-year old man was shot in the head on Sunday, July 5 around 3:30 a.m. as he drove down Daly Avenue. According to police and published reports,

Dwight Jefferson, 26, was shot in the head as he was driving his convertible with the top down. Jefferson then lost control of his vehicle and drove up onto the sidewalk before crashing into a plywood construction barrier near East 180th Street. He was also taken to St. Barnabas Hospital and is listed in critical condition, a NYPD spokesman confi rmed.

The assemblyman has allocated capital funds for police cameras to be installed along this troubled corridor which are expected there by February.

Sepulveda has also been in contact with the 48th Precinct’s commanding officer about continuing the impact zone program and bringing back community policing for the community.

He has also called for an increase in gun control to prevent the fl ood of guns into New York. “The Bronx is bleeding and it’s our youngest citizens who are being affected the most,” he said. “We must come together as a community to put a stop to this violence.”

The assemblyman urges community members to report illegal guns and suspicious activity to the NYPD’s Operation Gun Stop Program. Started in 2001, Operation Gun

Stop is privately funded by the New York City Police Foundation and has since led to over 5,500 arrests and theremoval of 3,350 illegal weapons from New York City streets.

Rewards of $1,000 are available for anonymous tips phoned into 1-866-GUN-STOP.

“If you know someone with a gun, call the NYPD’s Operation Gun Stop hotline so that we can remove as many guns from the street as possible. Too many times I’ve had to console mothers who have lost their children to gun violence. It must come to an end.” the assemblyman expressed.

Anyone with information about Rosello’s shooting is asked to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls are kept strictly confi dential

Alfonso Skeeter of 2311 Southern Boulevard is wanted by police in connection with Rosello’s murder.
Photo courtesy of DCPI

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