BROOKLYN — Following a shootout that injured two NYPD officers and a gunman in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Saturday, community advocates are calling for action to help alleviate gun violence in the area.
“It’s just sad. We are thankful that the police officers are safe and we continue to pour our prayers out even for the shooter,” Works said of this weekend’s incident.
“As a community with the clergy, we need to sit down and strategize what’s the direction we need to take — not just talk, it’s about action. We need to come out of the building and let people see the 'unity' in community.”
Two officers with the 81st Precinct’s anti-crime unit were wounded in a shootout with suspect 34-year-old Jamal Funes after the gunman slammed into a police car while fleeing authorities on Lexington Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard, according to officials.
Officer William Reddin, 33, was shot in the hip while Officer Andrew Yurkiw, 29, was hit in his bulletproof vest, police said.
Yurkiw was released from the hospital over the weekend and Reddin remains at Kings County Hospital in stable condition, officials said.
Funes, who was struck with several police bullets, was taken to Brookdale Hospital in critical condition, according to authorities.
Activists and clergy members gathered in Bed-Stuy over the weekend to denounce what they consider a spate of gun violence in the city.
“There’s just too much accessibility to illegal weapons of mass destruction, as we call it,” Tony Herbert, founder of Advocates Without Borders, told DNAinfo New York.
Earlier in the week, Herbert voiced the same concerns after a Feb. 16 shooting claimed the life of a local father just a few blocks away from the scene of Saturday’s standoff.
“A lot of us feel that the police are doing the best that they can at this time, and what we understand from a community standpoint is the community has to engage themselves in the board meetings and precinct council meetings.”
Herbert also called on the mayor and elected officials to prioritize an “economic stimulus” that would help provide resources, work, and programs for “young men who otherwise would be subject to picking up these guns.”
At a January meeting, 81st Precinct Commanding Officer Scott Henderson said the area saw an "unprecedented" decrease in shootings from 2014 to 2015, with a total of 30 people shot compared to 44 the previous year.
Most recent NYPD statistics show four shooting incidents in the neighborhood from the start of the new year through Feb. 14.
Resident Brenda Fryson said there needs to be a continued and “sustained” approach to safety in the community, adding that stakeholders and locals need to bring their ideas to the table to find a solution to gun violence.
“These incidents will happen and each one tears at the heart,” Fryson said. “But it’s also a reminder that we have to be about our business, and part of that is making sure we are all working together.“
“It will happen from time to time and that’s true of any community, but what happens is we get excited, we mourn, we wring our hands for one or two days and then we forget about the basic issues: it’s a complicated set of values that we need to deal with.”
Both Fryson and Works emphasized the need for quality education to ensure that youth stay on the right path.
Locals added that they believe recent shootings have involved gunmen from outside of the Bed-Stuy community.
“We have to be clear that even though they did not reside here, why are they falling on this side?” Works said.
While Works said that she feels safe in her neighborhood, she stressed there is still work to be done.
“Every block association, homeowner, church, should be doing something effectively to help others. We have to take it to the next level. It’s evident there’s a great need.”