WEEKEND MAYHEM: GANG VIOLENCE AND LATE-NIGHT ASSAULT

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Gunfire, a gunpoint robbery of a diner employee, and an assault kept police busy over the last few days.

Witnesses told police that shots were fired in the vicinity of West 90th street and Amsterdam Avenue early Saturday morning, and NYPD arrested one person in the late-night melee.

Also on Saturday around 3:30 a.m., police responded to an assault on West 97th street that appears to have been connected to a robbery at the Associated Supermarket on 97th and Amsterdam.

The shooting was reported to police by witnesses around 1 a.m. on Saturday in the area of 89th-90th street and Amsterdam Avenue. We heard from one reader who lives nearby that there were three distinct shots fired.

Police did not find evidence that shots were indeed fired and no one was reported injured, Captain Marlon Larin told us. But they did see a man entering a building in the Wise Towers housing project (which includes buildings from 88th to 92nd street) with a weapon.

“An individual who lives on the development ran through the courtyard and ultimately, into his own building. As he did so, he was observed adjusting a handgun within his waistband. It remained unclear if he was actually responsible for discharging the firearm only moments earlier. He was not apprehended and remains at large.”

The one person arrested in the incident was charged with disorderly conduct.

Helicopters were flying around the area late into the night.

The melee apparently began between members of a local gang called Money Comes First, who got in a dispute over a self-aggrandizing video they were producing, Captain Larin said.

“We gathered, from the few people that were willing to talk to us, that the event was sparked by a dispute, amongst members of the Money Comes First crew, as to the filming of a self-aggrandizing unofficial video.  Therefore, it was an intra-development conflict more than anything else. Rival crew members were not present at the time.”

By “rival crew members,” Larin was referring to a rival gang from the Frederick Douglass Houses about 10 blocks North.

The same gang may have also been involved in a robbery on Monday morning, when an employee of City Diner on 90th and Broadway was robbed at gunpoint at Wise Towers. Two people were arrested, one of whom Larin says is a member of the Money Comes First gang.

Gang violence has mostly been subdued since some incidents in April and June, Larin said, but the recent flare-up has him concerned. He said the precinct is working with gang and organized crime units to try to keep a lid on it.

In another incident in the wee hours of Saturday morning, a worker from Associated Supermarket on 97th and Amsterdam was punched in the face while chasing someone who had just stolen eight Febreze candles (valued at $55) from the store. We had been told by one reader that several residents had heard “blood-curdling screams” around that time and were not sure whether they were coming from a building at 258 West 97th street or the street.

Captain Larin gave the following description:

“On 10/4 at 3:34am, at West 97th Street and West End Avenue, a male victim was punched in the face by a male suspect.  The victim sustained a laceration to the lip and was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital.  The victim was a grocery store employee and was actually chasing down another person for the theft of items.  As he lost sight of the original suspect, this other person punched him in the face for no particular reason.  He may or not be acquainted with the original thief.”

Thanks to everyone who sent in tips.

NEWS | 35 comments | permalink
    1. Wendy says:

      I heard the helicopters, which of woke me up, and was wondering what was going on. Thanks for the report.

    2. webot says:

      Looking for the lefties to defend the status quo of the projects in our midst.

      Generation after generation of poverty, crime and mayhem – they just do not work. Other Cities like Newark and Chicago have replaced the crumbling projects with a mixture of market rate, middle, working and low income tenants – WITHOUT getting attacked as kicking others out, rather trying to find them opportunity as the clearly the high-rise warehousing of the poor does not work.

      Cue the liberals in 3, 2 , 1…..

      • Jeff says:

        Please stop trying to divide the community along political lines with your trollish comments. We all care about public safety, and I personally respect opinions from left, right and center when it comes to this issue – there is no single answer. You can advocate for certain policies without being inflammatory and counterproductive.

        • webot says:

          not trying to divide anything.

          The reality is in NYC, one side controls everything – the extreme left.

          I care about this City that I am a third generation resident of.

          Look at the center paragraph, that is my opinion. however I get attacked by the lefties and tried to be silenced merely by bringing up the conversation. I was merely being pro active.

          • geoff says:

            then why bother with the first and third?

            please consider refraining from comments directed at topics other than those in a story and especially those directed at other readers.

      • Sally Smile says:

        That’s right, we could be just like Newark and Chicago, such nice safe places to live, hardly any crime or shootings now that they figured out how to solve poverty. You never her the right-wingers attacking Obama anymore about the murder rate in Chicago since they magically eliminated all crime by tearing down a few buildings. Who knew that so many of our problems could be solved with a bulldozer and a wrecking ball?

        Seriously now, how can people who are on the Right always be so Wrong? If ignorance is bliss they must all be in Nirvana.

        • Scott says:

          You get it right Sally, but only accidentally. The issue isn’t the buildings themselves, but the gang-bangers inside. They need to be forced out the moment they break the law, and given a one-way bus ticket out of town.

          Living in NYCHA projects is a privilege, not a right. The city doesn’t enforce its own rules on evicting serious criminals and drug users. Just pointing this out brings shrill denunciations from the usual suspects who accuse you of “generalizing” and “stereotyping” the “hard-working residents” of blah blah blah…

      • Jerry says:

        @webot: I agree with what Jeff wrote. I think your posts are not just trolllish and inflammatory but juvenile and tiresome. Do you really believe every single issue can be so simplistically addressed by your castigation of liberals? Geesh.

        • webot says:

          Jerry, the answer is NO. and Geoff – I am attacked personally by the far left, I am allowed to defend myself , but thanks for your opinion. Yes, Sally , Chicago has its problems, but Cabrini Green (USA’s largest Project, now replaced with a mix of incomes) is not one of them.

          But I want to start an honest conversation about change.

          As you can see, I got attacked and condemned – rather then then the perpetrators (gang warfare, swat teams, mayhem in our home as the status quo) – hence my frustration as I sadly rest my case.

          • Sam says:

            @Webot there is no sense getting into it with the far left, the same way arguing with the far right will get you nowhere. I myself stand on the left however I’m as disgusted with the views of certain “extremists” as you are.

            The lunatic fringe of both parties have their opinions, it’s best to ignore them all.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        .. and/or by castigating the thousands of hard working and retired members of our community who live in public housing. they’re the one who want the problems at Wise Houses solved, more than anybody!

        “props” once again to Captain Larin who is always pro-active on these issues, and always communicates precisely and honestly. he and his officers are out there dealing with this.

      • Warriors Come Out to Play says:

        Actually, considering the gang name “Money Comes First,” it’s a good bet that these gents are all Republicans and thus the right is to blame.

        • Independent says:

          Right, because Democrats certainly never allow wealthy, elite, privileged entities to trump the public interest. The only ones who do that are those greedy, regressive, intolerant, evil Republicans. Surely not the Democrats, who, as well know, are are the party of progress and enlightenment.

      • Sara says:

        I use to live in this area. Closer to the Fredrick Douglass houses. I’ve been flashed, robbed, verbally assaulted, followed and I’ve watched countless times by residents. I WAS paying a lot of money to live several blocks from here. I was forced from my home because of the gang behavior in that neighborhood.
        Its disgusting that this is allowed to happen.

    3. langy says:

      If the thief took Eight Febreze candles, I’d look for someone with a very odiferous home!

    4. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      – If the suspects are caught, part of their punishment should include losing their NYCHA public housing.
      – Idleness is the mother of vice. If these individuals were busting arse studying and working to get out of the projects, they would be too busy and tired to engage in crime at the end of a long day’s work.
      – Public housing should be phased out over time in a humane fashion. Money should not be taken out of peoples’ paychecks to fund this nonsense.

    5. Anonymous says:

      Meanwhile, apartments on that corner are selling for $1200/sf.
      http://streeteasy.com/building/203-west-90-street-new_york/8d

    6. Chris says:

      Part of the reason Larin took over in April was because nobody has been able to do much about the trouble and general mayhem in the 24th Precinct being caused by the “Columbus Avenue Gunnerz” and “Money Comes First” crews.

      Note also his comment: “we have gathered, from the few people that were willing to talk to us.” Larin has previously remarked that very few of the people in both FD Houses or Wise Houses on Amsterdam have been helpful or cooperative to the police in helping to stop these crews, despite many complaints at community meetings about near-constant harassment within these buildings by young thugs there.

      I like Larin. He seems to be pretty engaged and focused on the fact that the West 90s are in decline, and the fact that many residents feel like they are in danger walking there after dark. I hope for neighbors and for residents of Wise houses they are able to arrest the people causing all the trouble.

      • Scott says:

        Right, don’t snitch. The community isn’t interested in justice when the killers aren’t cops or neighborhood watchmen. If it’s a gang member, it’s move along, nothing to see here. Isn’t that odd?

    7. Paul RL says:

      Our police are doing an excellent job, but unfortunately that is not the answer. This culture of rationalizing unacceptable behavior, whether it’s by empirical data or otherwise, has to stop. As for the housing projects themselves, they might have been right for post-war America, but for decades they have been a multigenerational breeding ground for crime and fear for their residents and surrounding neighborhoods alike. It’s time for these human warehouses to come down, and their residents integrated within the rest of society.

    8. 90's projects ghettos! says:

      The 90’s have become a foul ghetto. WTF is deblasio-donothing going to do? Does it only take some violence in park slope to wake this darn idiot up? There are thousands of children in the uws 90’s, granted lots of freeloaders, but still, lots of children. What has this f’ing place become?

    9. Bruce Bernstein says:

      there are plenty of good things going on in our public housing developments on the UWS. Why doesn’t the West Side Rag report on them some time? or about some of the residents and workers there who make these communities work?

      a very few commenters, always the same ones, seem to want to stigmatize others, especially if they live in public housing.

    10. Bruce Bernstein says:

      even more importantly, how about featuring some actual VOICES from Douglass Houses and other public housing? the tenant leader, the political activist, the coach, the student, the grandmother… why permit anonymous people to disparage a huge section of our community as “freeloaders” or describe it as “a foul ghetto.” i guess people have the right to use any language they want, but shouldn’t the truth be covered?

    11. James says:

      I’ve lived on the uws for five years. Only recently have I begun noticing young men dealing drugs. They do it in broad daylight under the scaffolding on Columbus in the mid 90’s. It is obvious, they don’t hide it. Has anyone else noticed this? I’ve thought about calling 911 when I see it happening but figure they’ll be gone by the time police arrive.

      • Ali says:

        I have to agree with Bruce. Though clearly problematic, the crime publicized here is only one small aspect of what goes on at these projects. I often walk by and see kids playing ball with their fathers in groups or family picnics. I am sure those people are just as upset by the crime as neighboring buildings. The crime makes the news here, but it is really not something you generally see. Meanwhile in the areavthere are more and more strollers and services to accommodate those moving into nicer buildings. Nice restaurants are constantly busy. Looking at Columbus in the 90’s at 8:30 am or 7 pm, one would hardly call it a ghetto. It’s filled with young families.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          thank you Ali.

          Frederick Douglass Houses and the other public housing on the UWS are thriving communities and nowhere like the way they get depicted by some (not all) of the regular commenters on this site. i walk through them regularly. People from all over the community use the great ball field / soccer field on the project grounds. You see the children playing and the seniors sitting out there… there is a new basketball court BEHIND the Ryan Center that hosted a great tournament this summer, with teenage players from public housing and private housing in the community.

          there is a legendary basketball coach at Douglass who runs a boys and girls youth program. I have a friend who is a CEO of a major corporation, daughter at Trinity… and he put her in that program. because of the coach.

          Douglass residents are active in all the local political clubs and on the 24th Precinct Community Council. And similar stories could be told for all the public housing projects on the UWS (Wise, Amsterdam, etc.) What i have said just scratches the surface.

          the continual posts calling for “ripping down” public housing on the UWS would remove a large number — perhaps the vast majority — of low income and people of color from our neighborhood. one has to ask, “why do these anonymous commenters so much want to do this?”

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          just to be clear, my complaint is about the COMMENTERS by commission… and the West Side Rag only by omission.

          WSR DOES NOT engage in the sort of stereotyping and ugly language we see from the commenters. imho, the language is fair and unbiased as is the reporting, as far as it goes.

          However, the reporting in WSR on this portion of our community has only covered crime and similar negatives, as far as I can see or remember. i would like to see more balanced coverage. especially given the ugliness of some of the comments.

        • Scott says:

          So basically, you want more stories about people at the Douglass Houses who obey the law. Talk about lowering the bar, you’ve just buried it 4 feet underground.

      • UWS-er says:

        Uh, if you see a drug deal, CALL 911 or 311. Of course. Even if they’re gone when you get there, the more calls the city gets reporting crime in a particular area, the more resources/cops they’ll devote to that area.

        • webot says:

          except for 90s projects ghettos! comments , I see no “ugly comments” (and this person was referring to the 90s in general , I think)..

          I see folks who are concerned about the decline of their community and want to talk about change for the better.

          But, again to my point in 2, anything like that gets attacked, usually by one person and one person only – flying the lefty flag – who I have tried to not “inflame” said person.

          fyi, I always find it interesting that these same folks are agaist programs that help make change like Charter Schools. Just another version of the soft prejudice of low expectations.

      • Sam says:

        @James, you should call the police. Even if they’re gone when the cops arrive it’s a good thing for the neighborhood. The more we notify the police, the more noise we make through official channels, the more likely it is that something will be done.

        On another note I have seen more cops on foot in the W90s/Broadway in the past 2 months than I’ve seen in many years. Looks like the 24th precinct is aware of the recent changes and are taking to the streets, I like what I’ve been seeing recently.