The family of the Hasidic man who was shot in the stomach in front of his Williamsburg home on Tuesday is blaming a lack of police — not anti-Semitism — for the robbery attempt-turned-shooting. “I don’t want to make accusations, but we just need more police in the area,” said the victim’s mother, who requested that her name not be used.
Community members led by United Jewish Organization President Rabbi David Niederman also refused to play the race card, though the victim, 25-year-old Burech Halberstam, told Aug. 10 morning on the corner of S. Ninth Street and Driggs Avenue. Halberstam was talking on his cellphone at around midnight when two men approached. The thugs tried to take his phone, then rummaged through his pockets before firing at him when they didn’t find any money.
Then the crime took an even more brutal twist. “After they shot him, they were laughing,” one witness said.
The trigger-happy perps drove their white getaway van down Driggs Avenue, but another witness drove after them, following them to Berry Street. The men waved a gun and the Samaritan circled back to the scene of the shooting. Police found the alleged getaway car on Jefferson Avenue near Franklin Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant about an hour after the crime. Meanwhile, Halberstam was taken to Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital, where he was operated on and remains in stable condition. His family said he could be home as early as Wednesday.
“He lost a lot of blood, but he’s lucky the bullets didn’t hit any of his vital organs,” said his mother.
No arrest has been made in the case, leaving Halberstam’s mother spooked. “I was born here, but felt less safe over the years,” she said. “I even tell my son to call me when he gets home from visiting me at my house.”
Police from the 90th Precinct, which comprises the Southside and Bushwick, could not be reached for comment, but NYPD statistics do not suggest that the area has gotten lawless.
So far this year, there has been one murder in the entire precinct, down from four by this point last year. Assaults are down, but robberies are up — though neither by statistically significant amounts.
And, historically, crime is a tiny fraction of what it was when Halberstam’s mother was raising her wounded son.
In 1990, there were 24 murders recorded in the precinct.