More guns won’t solve gun violence, local pol says after Halloween shooting

More guns won’t solve gun violence, local pol says after Halloween shooting
Photo by Kevin Duggan

A Flatbush councilman slammed the idea that more guns will decrease violence in the borough in the aftermath of a Halloween shooting that occurred days after the beep suggested off-duty cops carry pistols on them inside houses of worship.

Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush) on Nov. 2 echoed the mayor in rejecting the controversial notion that more guns will keep residents safer, while denouncing the shooter who fired a bullet into a 14-year-old boy on Hillel Place and Nostrand Avenue two days earlier.

“The response to what we’re seeing is not simply more guns,” Williams said at a press conference. “We want to address the underlying issues that are occurring with gun violence to begin with.”

Williams drew a connection between the brutal Flatbush shooting and the deadly gunfire insdie a Pittsburgh synagogue and a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky, calling gun-related incidents a “public-health disease.”

“We can’t lose sight of what happened in the last week, whether it’s the synagogue, whether it’s the Kroger shooting where a white supremacist shot two black folks. The things that these have in common are guns, and access to guns,” he said.

On Halloween, the shooter fired a bullet into the local teen’s mouth in the Hillel pedestrian plaza in broad daylight, while families and kids were out and about, according to a local high-schooler, who was in a nearby restaurant when it happened.

“I was on my way home from school at Chipotle around the corner and people came in saying somebody was shot,” said Alexa, 15, a sophomore at Midwood High School. “The cops were on the scene very quickly and sealed off the area but I saw the victim. He had blood coming out of his mouth and was coughing blood.”

Paramedics rushed the victim to Maimonides Hospital, where doctors declared his injuries non-life-threatening, according to a Police Department spokeswoman.

Cops have not yet made any arrests and the investigation is ongoing, the spokeswoman said.

The incident occurred months after commerce cheerleaders with the The Flatbush Nostrand Junction Business Improvement District in August unveiled the pedestrian plaza, which is frequented by hundreds of Brooklyn College and Midwood High School students daily.

The bid hired an unarmed security guard to monitor the plaza on weekdays from 1 to 5 pm after some members of the area’s community board voiced concerns about the number of kids that congregate at the site, where they said crowds of youngsters would gather even before the plaza was built. And that guard’s quick response to the shooting contained the incident before it could get worse, the bid’s executive director said.

“We have an unarmed security presence here and I think that helped in quelling the situation before it got out of hand,” said Kenneth Mbonu.

But no additional guards will be posted at the plaza following the shooting, according to Mbonu, who said his group would work closely with the local police precinct to keep the area safe.

“We are looking to work with the precinct so there’s more constant surveillance of the area, especially when people are coming out of school and waiting for the bus or subway,” he said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.