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Harlem NYPD Precinct Grapples With Sudden Spike in Shootings

By Gustavo Solis | May 15, 2015 10:57am
 There have been six shootings in the 28th Precinct so far in 2015. There were seven throughout all of 2014.
There have been six shootings in the 28th Precinct so far in 2015. There were seven throughout all of 2014.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

HARLEM — There have been six shootings, including one homicide, in Harlem's 28th NYPD Precinct since March 30, one less than in all of 2014.

Five of the shootings happened during the first week of May, Deputy Inspector Olufunmilo F. Obe said during a community council meeting Wednesday evening.

“One shooting is one too many,” she said. “What’s troubling is that year to date … we’ve had six shooting incidents. There are a lot of guns in this community.”

Most of the victims have been black men younger than 25.  None of the shooters have been arrested, police confirmed Thursday.

“I think the community should have zero tolerance for this nonsense,” said anti-violence activist Rev. Vernon Williams.

“There should be just as much outrage when a community member shoots a community member as when a police officer shoots a community member or a community member shoots a police officer.”

Williams and members from various anti-violence organizations will speak out against the recent spike and try to deter anyone from retaliating with more violence during a rally on Friday at West 111th Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue, where an 18-year-old was shot and killed last week, he said.

The first shooting of the year took place on March 30 near 128 West 116th St., Obe said.

“The victim states that he was in a restaurant getting some food, he went across the street to meet a friend and he was shot in the leg,” Obe said.

Obe does not believe the victim was the intended target. The shooting may be linked to a fight between two groups of teenagers nearby, she added.

The second shooting happened May 5 at approximately 11 p.m. on the subway platform near 110th Street and Lenox Avenue.

“They just happened to be on the train,” Obe said. “One guy looks at another guy’s girlfriend the wrong way and he gets shot.”

The victim was 20 years old.

The next day, at 3:15 p.m. on 125 West 116th St., an 18-year-old man was shot in the leg and hand, according to the Deputy Inspector.

“He was the intended target,” she said. “[The victim] spoke up and said, ‘Listen, I was squared off to get into a fight with this person,’ but he would not identify who the shooter is.”

Officers are looking for six men wanted for questioning. The victim was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in stable condition, according to the NYPD.

The following three shootings all happened on Friday May 8.

At 1:50 a.m. near 2026 Seventh Ave., a victim who works at a nearby bodega was shot.

Then at 2:37 a.m., Deiondre Viera, 18, was shot several times in the back of the head while sitting in the back seat of a car near 111th Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue.

Viera was pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital, police said.

The most recent shooting happened the same day at 2:30 p.m. in front of 1980 Seventh Ave. A 28-year-old man was shot twice after getting into an argument with another man.

He was taken to Harlem Hospital and is in stable condition, police said.

Citywide shootings are up significantly during the past month, according to the NYPD.

Obe attributed the rise in shootings partly to the change in weather.

“We were good in the beginning of the year,” she said. “We had a cold winter.

"[The temperature] just jumped, it went to the 80s right away and the next thing you know citywide we got shootings everywhere."

The precinct is responding to the uptick by placing a command post vehicle on 116th Street, where two of the six shootings have occurred. They are also working with school safety officers to identify any students that may be involved in any incidents, she said.