Anti-violence activists decry recent shooting sprees in Fort Greene

Star Robinson of GMACC at the Sept. 2 rally against gun violence on Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

A group of Fort Greene activists rallied on Wednesday afternoon to decry a recent rash of shootings in the neighborhood that wounded several area youngsters — including when a drive by gunman shot three kids, aged 16, 17, and 20. 

“Our kids don’t need to be afraid to be out in the community,” said Zac Martin, a pastor at Recovery House of Worship on Schermerhorn Street, who had taught the youngest injured victim. 

The shooter opened fire at the youths at around 1:35 am on Aug. 30 near Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park, hitting the two boys and a girl and sending them to the hospital for wounds in their legs, arms, and buttocks, according to police reports

Martin, who attended the Sept. 2 rally near where the shooting took place, called for the community to reflect on the heinous incident, and pondered the toll of gun violence on his student’s life. 

“Young man was in the neighborhood, just celebrating being a kid in the neighborhood, winds up getting shot — arm busted up from a gunshot,” said Martin.

The girl was scheduled the following day to play in an amateur basketball tournament meant to mark the opening of the newly refurbished neighborhood courts — which were funded in part by local basketball veteran Taj Gibson — but the shooting overshadowed the would-be joyous occasion, said one local activist. 

“It was supposed to be a festive day for our community, and one of the young girls from our community was shot in the leg, and she was unable to play her game. She didn’t ask for that. She isn’t part of that life,” said Keith Davis of the anti-violence group Gangsta’s Making Astronomical Community Changes, which coordinated the afternoon demonstration. 

The organization, which is made up of previously-incarcerated people and former gang members, mediates conflicts for the city’s “Cure Violence” program to combat shootings on a local level.

The triple-shooting incident came just one day before another gunman shot a 26-year-old man in the head on nearby Park and Carlton avenues, leaving him in critical condition, according to police, who have not made arrests in either case.

The number of gun violence victims in the 88th Police Precinct, which encompasses Fort Greene, has more than doubled this year compared to last — with at least 16 victims in 2020, compared with just six in 2019, according to NYPD stats. 

The trend holds true across the borough, where 572 people had been shot this year between January and August, compared to just 248 over the same timeframe last year. 

Members of GMACC used the Wednesday rally to encourage parents and community members who were concerned about the community’s youth to send them to the organization, which can help steer them down a better path. 

“If you can hear me and you need some resources and you know you got a troubled teen, he’s running in and out of your house, he ain’t listening, you know he ain’t up to no good, come holler at us. Let us have a talk with him,” said Star Robinson.

The activist said the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on working class communities, leading to more violence across the board.

“There’s really no money flowing into the community, so when you have no money, there’s always going to be more violence, not just gun violence but violence in general,” he said.

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