Thursday, January 8, 2015
2015 Comes in with a Bang
(Photo by David Greene)
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 8- As the murder rate in New York City fell to its lowest level in 50 years-- 2014 ended with a man shot in Morris Park in the closing minutes of the year and the new count began with the killing of a 26-year-old man in Melrose.
The NYPD reported 328 murders for the year, seven fewer than the year before and the lowest since 1963, the year when records of such grim statistics became necessary. A far cry from the bad old days like 1990, when the city logged 2,245 murders.
The figures offer little consolation to the family of Herb Huntley, 26, who was shot and killed in the lobby of 671 Westchester Avenue at just before 3 a.m. on January 1.
Police closed off the lobby as they conducted their investigation, as revelers returned home from their celebrations and had to enter the St. Mary's Park Houses complex through the stairs to get to the elevator on the first floor.
One woman used the slogan of a roach motel describing the building, claiming, "Strangers walk in this building, but they don't walk out.”
The woman said she heard four shots before police arrived.
Another woman claimed it was the third murder around the complex in as many years. The resident of the complex also claimed that cops no longer patrol the complex and surveillance cameras no longer work— giving free reign to drug dealers who often use the lobby and staircase as their office.
Police say Huntley was shot in the head and chest and died at Lincoln Hospital. Police have no suspects or motive at this time. The year ended with gunfire in Morris Park as a man was reported shot at 11:45 p.m. at the corner of Rhinelander and Hone Avenue. Few details on the incident were available.
One resident asked, "So why wasn't it in the news? Because you didn’t hear about it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Is that suppose to make us feel safer?"
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Accused Gunman Made Feelings Known about Cops
By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 7- Before the bullet left his gun aimed for two police officers, Jason Polanco’s hatred of cops was on display. The Fordham man was arrested for wounding two cops after robbing a bodega.
Polanco’s Facebook page has photos such as two kids painting “F—- the Police” on a fence. Another had stick figures of an officer beating another figure on the ground stating: “Stop police brutality.”
News of Polanco’s views came to light after the arrest of the Fordham man for allegedly shooting two police officers. Monday night’s shooting, coupled with the such posts on social media, has police believing there is a war on cops.
The shooting, coupled with the anti-cop rhetoric, is eerily similar to the assassination of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot the officers to death as they sat in their squad car in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Later it was revealed that Brinsley had posted messages of hatred toward the police on his social media accounts.
At this time it appears that Polanco allegedly opened fire to escape arrest and not simply target police officers.
Polanco was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, attempted murder, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and assault.
His partner, Joshua Kemp of Metropolitan Oval in Parkchester, was charged with robbery, grand larceny, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.
Cops say Polanco wounded Kemp when he opened fire on Officers Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellerano. Investigators were on to Kemp when he went to a Manhattan hospital for treatment after being shot.
Kemp was on parole for robbery and has a record of 10 arrests was busted for his part in the robbery which led to the double cop shooting.
Investigators said the shooting sprang from a robbery earlier. Members of the Anti-Crime unit responded to the armed robbery of PN Deli in Fordham. Surveillance video of the robbery show one gunman holding the employees on the ground, while his accomplice emptied the cash register.
When police approached Polanco at a Chinese takeout restaurant a short time later, the man is seen on surveillance video opening fire.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Holiday Filled with Tears
Vigil Held as Locals Mourn with Pakistani, NYPD Communities
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 30- A crowd of nearly 100 gathered outside of Christopher Columbus High School on Astor Avenue for a tearful candlelight vigil held for the 132 school children killed by members of the Taliban in Peshawar, Pakistan.
The event, hosted by members of the Bronx Park East Community Association on Sunday, December 21, also became somewhat of a vigil after police officer's Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in Brooklyn a day earlier.
Imam Mudassar Husdain of the Masjid Noor ul- Huda Mosque told mourners that the killings, "had nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with Muslims and nothing to do with honoring our beloved prophet Mohammad."
Husdain added, "We all have different backgrounds, different beliefs, but we do not take each others lives in vain."
Speaking on both horrific acts, local official Joseph McManus said, "It's just a crime, in my opinion the people that performed these acts are cowards."
The crowd as diverse in age as it was in race and nationality then lit candles and held a moment of silence. The crowd would later be asked to sign a poster that would be sent to schoolchildren in Pakistan.