Suspects appearing in court, who hid weapons at worksites, to blame for series of Downtown shootings, beep says

One man injured after shooter opens fire Downtown
Photo by Julianne Cuba

Borough President Adams blamed a recent spate of Downtown shootings on individuals coming and going to the commercial district’s court rooms, claiming shooters from across the borough stashed their weapons at construction sites, picked them up on their way to hearings, and fired them while in the area.

“People who were on their way to court appeared to have hidden guns in construction sites and other locations,” Adams said at a Friday press conference outside Borough Hall. “It’s unfortunate that much of the crime is visiting Downtown, but there’s not much we can do about stopping people who are coming from other parts of the borough and participating in criminal behavior.”

The beep, who held a closed-door meeting with law-enforcement and other officials prior to making his announcement, said the brain trust would work even closer together to better schedule court dates, as well as parole and probation visits, in an attempt to prevent shoot-outs between folks whom he alleged are bad actors affiliated with gangs.

“If there’s a beef that’s attached to that visit, a notification is made,” he said.

Earlier this month, cops cuffed a 26-year-old on Oct. 11 for firing a bullet into another guy’s leg at Pearl and Willoughby streets as a nearby school let out on Oct. 1.

Officers slapped the suspect, who lives in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, with charges including assault and criminal use of a firearm, according to Police Department spokeswoman Officer Arlene Muniz, who said authorities arrested him no less than twice before, on charges including promoting gambling in July 2017, and on charges including criminal possession of a weapon back in September 2014.

Muniz could not answer when asked if the suspect is affiliated with gangs, claiming the complaint report did not note that information.

And in July, police arrested a 19-year-old boy for shooting two passersby and his intended male target on Fulton Mall near Gallatin Place, charging the teen with three counts of assault.

That suspect lives in Brownsville, according to Muniz, who said cops cuffed him no less than twice before the latest incident, but could not say whether he is affiliated with gangs, citing the lack of that information in the complaint report.

A third person opened fire near the New York University Tandon School of Engineering campus on MetroTech Commons in August, but police are still searching for the shooter, who injured no one and faces charges including reckless endangerment, Muniz said.

A spokesman for Adams said the beep learned of suspects’ habit of hiding guns in construction sites from police in the meeting before his public announcement, but reps for the Police Department did not immediately answer when asked how authorities discovered suspects’ habit of hiding guns at construction sites, or where those alleged sites are.

And the beep, a former member of New York’s Finest, stressed communication — between police, locals, and elected officials — will be key to stopping future shootings in the neighborhood, which is blocks from Boerum Hill’s House of Detention, a jail the mayor is pushing to expand in his quest to dramatically reduce the number of inmates locked up on Rikers Island.

“As a captain in the 84th precinct raised, we also want a smarter public,” Adams said. “We want the public to know how to not be a victim of crime, that is one of the best ways to prevent crime and ensure they are not a victim.”

— with Anthony Rotunno