An armed 57-year-old Brooklyn man was killed by police after gunfire erupted outside a Bushwick liquor store on Thursday, wounding three.
Officers responded to gunshots near the intersection of Halsey Street and Wilson Avenue around 10:30 p.m. on July 8. Three people were later found shot outside Boardwalk Wine and Spirits.
Police “immediately gave chase” to an armed man, who had fled on foot westbound on Wilson Avenue.
According to Juanita Holmes, Chief of Patrol for the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the body camera footage showed the suspect, who was located crouched down the street on a sidewalk near a church adjacent to Irving Square Park. He later refused officers’ commands to drop his firearm and was shot at least once, officials said.
“They observed a man holding a firearm in his left hand and gave commands for the man to drop the firearm,” Holmes told reporters on Thursday night. “The man does not comply and instead raises the firearm in the direction of the officers. The officers then discharged their service weapons, striking the gunman.”
The suspect was rushed to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. His identity has not been released. A pistol was retrieved by investigators from the crime scene.
Three more firearms were seized from the liquor store where gunshots were originally reported. A handgun was reportedly recovered from the trunk of a Maserati at the business. Police didn’t specify how many shooters were possibly involved in the incident, who the guns belonged to, or whether the firearms were legal.
The motive in the shooting is unknown. It’s also unclear if the alleged shooter knew the group of men wounded in front of Halsey Avenue liquor store.
“It’s still early in the investigation,” Holmes said.
The officers involved in the shooting were taken to an area medical center for observation, as well. No one else was injured in the incident.
Investigation into the shooting remains active and ongoing. No new information was immediately available on Friday.
Hours after the shooting, a heavy police presence remained at Boardwalk Wine and Spirits.
Entire blocks were sectioned off with police tape on the streets surrounding Irving Square Park Friday evening. Traffic was closed as forensic specialists scoured the immediate vicinity of the storefront for clues. The liquor store’s window was visibly shattered, presumably from gunfire. A silver Maserati with New York plates sat feet away from the broken glass. The luxury sedan, whose driver window was partially rolled down, was also cordoned off by yellow tape.
Michael Bender, a 38-year-old camera store worker, was visiting a friend in the neighborhood when he stumbled across the crime scene.
“I come here all hours of the night, and I would never think this could happen in this neighborhood,” he told Bushwick Daily. “I’m really shocked. I would never be scared to walk down the streets any hour of the day. It’s horrible.”
As the city settles into summer, shootings have climbed, not only in Bushwick, but across the five boroughs.
“It’s just really sad,” Kanami Kusajima told Bushwick Daily.
The 24-year-old ballet dancer and choreographer, who is originally from Japan, was stunned to learn shots had rippled down the block only hours earlier.
“This never happens in my country,” Kusajima said, flatly adding, “nobody has guns.”
Shooting incidents are up almost 90 percent in the 83rd Precinct, specifically, compared to 2020, city data shows. There have been 18 logged shootings in the precinct through July 4. Only seven shootings were recorded during the same time period last year.
“We’ve gone from bad to worse,” Chris Herrmann, an ex-NYPD crime analyst supervisor and assistant adjunct professor of law at Manhattan’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Bushwick Daily.
The law scholar, however, was quick to caution that overall crime has remained relatively stable compared to past years.
“This isn’t like a huge crime wave that I think everyone is worried about,” Herrmann said. “This is really just a shooting and homicide problem.”
Herrmann described New York’s ongoing gun violence epidemic as a “very small clustered problem.” He was adamant gun violence wasn’t spreading in the city. And, he said, while gun arrests are up, illegal gun sales have also increased.
“The police don’t have a good handle on this, obviously,” Herrmann said. “This isn’t a problem you’re going to arrest your way out of or stop and frisk your way out of. The guns are everywhere. We know that, and even though the police are doing a great job, I think, taking guns off the street, something tells me they’re not even making a dent in the big picture here.”
Eric Adams, the newly minted mayor-elect, former career policeman and Brooklyn borough president, who ran a tough-on-crime mayoral campaign, has vowed to crack down on the city’s rise in gun violence, including increased security at the city’s ports and hiring a special firearms prosecutor.
“It’s really easy to get guns in New York from other states,” said Herrmann, who explained about 74 percent of the city’s illegal firearms are shuttled in from out of state, predominantly via the “Iron Pipeline.”
“There are hundreds of thousands of cars every day, trains, planes, everything,” he stated. “There’s no way of putting up a border wall around New York and taking care of that. The guns are too easy to get down south, and they’re too cheap, and they’re too expensive up here…I don’t think you’re going to cut that out. The reality is, there’s just so many guns.”
Herrmann said he hopes the incoming administration will adopt early gun violence reforms including funneling increased funding to anti-gun violence groups and establishing closer ties with the FBI, state police, and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also called for a quicker, more transparent, and effective data system to record and log city shootings to aid policy analysts and researchers.
“They want to get as many eyes and ears on this problem as possible,” he said.
As rush hour traffic slowed on Wilson Avenue, a stout man wearing maroon joggers, lingered across the street from the shuttered liquor store, and shrewdly surveyed the scene of the shooting.
The Brooklyn man, who declined to give his name, citing safety and privacy concerns, said he was childhood friends with the unidentified 57-year-old who was fatally shot by police.
“He was a good dude,” the man told Bushwick Daily. “He was all heart. He would do anything in the world for you if he loved you.
He described his friend as a “passionate,” “loyal” and “amazing” family man.
“He has people that loved him,” the man added. “I don’t want him to be demonized in this thing. I don’t know what he did. I can’t say.”
Editor’s Note: Article was updated on July 13 12:42 p.m. to include changes in the author’s final draft that were mistakenly not included in the version originally published.
All photos courtesy of Dorian Geiger.
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