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Police Presence Increased Near Gowanus Houses After Shootings

 The scene from the triple shooting in Gowanus last month.
The scene from the triple shooting in Gowanus last month.
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DNAinfo/ Gwynnes Hogan

BOERUM HILL — The shooting that left three men wounded in a basketball court by Gowanus Houses last month has resulted in a higher number of police officers patrolling the area to deter crime, officials said. 

There has been "a significant increase in uniform presence” in the past month, particularly on Baltic Street, Capt. James Palumbo, commanding officer of the housing bureau that covers the NYCHA development told neighborhood residents at a community meeting last week.

In the past six months, three shooting incidents in which people have been injured have taken place on Baltic Street in the Gowanus Houses. The 76th Precinct and Police Service Area 1 have been working together “to try to get a handle on this violence,” Palumbo said at the meeting to address local concerns regarding the shootings. 

All three shootings near the Gowanus Houses remain under investigation. No arrests have been made.

The 76th Precinct overall has recorded nine people injured in shootings between Jan. 1 and June 28 — a 200 percent increase in comparison to the same period last year, which saw three people injured as a result of gunfire, according to NYPD data.

The precinct is also speaking to NYCHA about installing light towers around the development.

The New York City Housing Authority spokeswoman Zodet Negrón on Tuesday deferred requests for comment to the NYPD. 

On March 14, Leroy Olmstead, 20, was shot and killed in front of a Baltic Street building at the Gowanus Houses shortly after 3 p.m., authorities said.

On April 29, a man from Red Hook who was talking to a man and a woman on Baltic Street between 9 and 9:30 p.m. was shot and injured “because he’s from Red Hook,” Palumbo said.

“We have a historical problem between Red Hook and Gowanus that’s been going on for the longest time,” he said.

Most recently, on June 10, three men were shot and injured by a person who fired 14 rounds into a basketball court of the NYCHA development in “broad daylight,” he said.

One man is wanted in connection with the shooting, authorities said.

“That could be anyone of us. That would have been a young child, that could have been an elderly person,” Palumbo said.

“Or a mom and dad who's got three kids and is coming home from work and ends up taking a bullet unfortunately.”

Overall for the precinct, the number of victims injured in shootings is up 12.5 percent in the past five years but the number of shooting incidents is down by the same percentage for the same period, data shows. 

“Obviously this is an area of serious concern for us,” Councilman Stephen Levin said. “This is serious stuff.”

Some alarmed residents who attended the meeting at the Gowanus Houses community center last week recalled hearing shots being fired.

Wyckoff Street resident Mimi Keghida said about two weeks before the triple shooting, she heard six loud shots that startled her and her dog around 1 a.m.

“I couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from,” she said. “It seemed to be so close to us.”

While Capt. Elliot Colon, the 76th Precinct’s new commanding officer, assured locals that police presence would continue in the neighborhood until the perpetrators were caught, residents called for permanent policing in the area.

“Three weeks from now, whatever, they’re going to be gone,” said Mark Tremitiere, who lives on Warren Street.

“There’s enough people here that we warrant it,” he said.