Gunshots Alarm Residents on 99th Street, as Shootings Have Risen in the Precinct

A man found a bullet hole in the door to his car. Photos by David Brotsky.

By Renee Roden

Gun violence, which has escalated throughout New York City this summer, was brought home to one Upper West Side block this past Sunday. Residents of the 200 block of West 99th Street were rattled when the evening calm was interrupted by gunshots. It does not appear that anyone was injured by the shots, but residents and visitors later found bullet holes in cars.

There have been 7 shootings with 8 victims in the 24th precinct this year, up from zero shootings at this point last year, according to police stats. Three of the shootings were recorded in 28-day period ending August 9. In another incident on Monday, a 29-year-old man was shot in the shoulder during an attempted robbery on 94th and Amsterdam, police said.

David Brotsky, an attorney, who has lived on the Upper West Side for over a decade, alerted the West Side Rag on Monday morning to the shooting that had occurred on Sunday evening near his apartment on 99th and Amsterdam. “I wasn’t a full eyewitness,” he said. “I was just an earwitness, so to speak.”

But his neighbor, Sean Miller, a brand strategy consultant, was at least a partial eyewitness. Miller phoned in the original 911 call to the police at 7:06 pm on Sunday evening.

Miller told the Rag, “I was sitting at my desk in my home office, which looks over a courtyard. I heard two or three loud shots that sounded very close. I’ve heard a lot of fireworks over the past couple of months, and these were different.” Miller ran to the front of his apartment, overlooking 99th Street, and saw two men “running westbound on the sidewalk on the north side of 99th street, past the church. One of them had a handgun in his left hand, and they were both running down the sidewalk, looking over their shoulders, like they were fleeing something,” Miller said. He described both men as black males wearing black shorts and shirts.

Miller called the police shortly after, and said they responded quickly. “The cops sort of swarmed at 99th and Broadway, and they closed off the street from Amsterdam all the way down the block.”

Miller went out to walk his dog around a half hour later, and an officer escorted him in and out of the crime-scene tape. “Two cars on the street had bullet holes in them,” said Miller. One of the cars, with an out-of-town license plate, was shot in the driver’s window. “Quite a souvenir,” he added.

David Brotsky said he believed the gunshots on 99th Street were indicative of the “the changed tenor of the neighborhood in the past couple of months.”

Sean Miller was reluctant to jump to conclusions to find one single explanation for the uptick in crime some residents have perceived. He said, “It’s strange because I don’t know what’s causing this uptick in car break-ins and gun violence, and some of this stuff. It’s not like the people who moved into the Lucerne twenty blocks away are running around the city rampant with guns and stuff. I just don’t know what’s caused this, some people think that people around are getting more bold, because they perceive that the cops are taking a more laissez-faire attitude toward break-ins and things like that. I don’t know.”

WSR posed the question to Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi, commander of the 24th Precinct. We are awaiting a response. Yaguchi has previously said that at least one of the recent shootings was gang-related.

Miller and his wife are moving with their two children to Connecticut this week, and they are saddened to leave the neighborhood. “It has nothing to do with the things I’m talking about, actually,” he explained. “It’s just the COVID situation and accompanying recession have made it unaffordable for us to stay here.” His wife was laid off from her position earlier this year, and he said his business slowed for a long period, although it is picking back up. “We never thought we would have to leave the city,” he added, “we don’t want to leave this neighborhood.”

“People that are in various states of needing mental health support and are homeless…everyone in our neighborhood has had them as neighbors, and that’s part of living in New York City. But this is the first time that gun violence has come to this block, at least since I’ve lived here.”

But, he says, he and his wife “take a much longer view on the city. “We know that this, too, shall pass.”

NEWS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. TrueTrue says:

      That night, the Citizen app showed a shooting about an hour later nearby at 100/Columbus.

      Not sure if these incidents are related to the ongoing gang conflict b/w the 100-105th area and the 90-93rd area, but it is very troubling either way.

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      Are crime stats down from this time last year? Crime stats always seem to be “down”, at least that’s what some posters on here like to state.

      • UWS-er says:

        Posters on here liked to state that crime was down because crime WAS down. It’s not anymore, though. Shootings are WAY up.

    3. uwsideguy says:

      The gangs know it’s open season to take each other out no matter what innocents get caught in the middle because the police can’t touch anyone anymore.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        they can’t “touch anyone”? no, they can’t kneel on someone’s diaphragm.

        Any cop who can’t figure out how to restrain/arrest someone without a chokehold or compression of a diaphragm does not deserve to be a cop. Period.

        Is it your contention that there was no existing problem with chokeholds and dangerous holds?

        • Harry Pearlman says:

          Bruce, I’ve seen you comment quite a few times on the WSR form. Would love to see how you would approach, constructively, tracking down some of these criminals and performing an “appropriate arrest”? We are talking about apprehending gang affiliated criminals, who shoot up cars indiscriminately on West 99 Street, not BIPOC at an innocent traffic stop in Minnesota.

        • Living in the Real World says:

          Would love to see you come down from your ivory tower and restrain someone strung out on bath salts (or other hard drugs) or someone wielding a deadly weapon while they’re on these heavy drugs.

          People on these types of drugs walk right through tasers.

          You may be well-intentioned, but naive.

        • Sherri G says:

          You are very smug. Why don’t you try being a Police Officer and putting your life in danger every time you go to work. They run toward danger while we all run away from it. Soon, they will all retire or quit, and you will be left to protect yourself.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          actually, it is those of you who deny that there have been too many deaths and injuries while under police constraint who are “smug”. Including in NYC. Do you deny that there is a problem? this is putting your head in the sand.

          it is the job of a police officer to be able to restrain people without killing or seriously harming them.they are supposedly trained in this.

          So you guys think chokeholds are ok? compressing someone’s diaphragm is ok? really?

          And please note that i was countering the disingenuous statement that police officers “can’t touch” people they are wishing to arrest or restrain.

          if the police officer’s actual life or limb is in danger — if they are under assault — they can defend themselves.

          • johnny zero says:

            Bruce, What have we had, one chokehold death in New York (Garner) in recent years… meanwhile, murders are on the sharp uptick, and its not white people getting killed… why do you ignore the loss of black lives that do not fit your narrative?

    4. UWS_Debater says:

      And the debate begins on the comment section…

    5. Ira says:

      A few nights ago around 12 midnight I called 911 thinking I had heard shots. I explained I wasn’t sure but they were definite cracks as if someone was doing target practice. Maybe 2 or 3 sets of shots. All sounded the same. I’m on 104th near Riverside Drive.

    6. Lizzie says:

      Thanks, Sean, for your kind words about the UWS and New York and for not jumping on the “everything’s going to hell, flee the city” bandwagon. I hope you and your family are healthy and happy in Connecticut. Come back and visit when this is all over!

    7. WhatTheHeck says:

      Another one – shot fired at 98/broadway within the past hour. It’s on the citizen app. I walked by and there were a bunch of cop cars and police tape around the area.

    8. BanjoLover says:

      I just downloaded the Citizen app a couple of weeks ago and have seriously considered deleting it because maybe sometimes ignorance is bliss? I agree with mr. miller that I don’t think residents of the Lucerne are venturing this far north. I witnessed 2 cars with broken out windows last week west of bway on 99th and 98th – one guy had the police with him making a report (99th). Both vehicles were packed with belongings so you can see why they were a target. I walked my dog around 6pm and broadway between 98th/99th was closed with police vehicles everywhere due to another report of shots fired. Something is definitely shifting. I have seen reports about the anti-crime police unit being re-assigned being one of the potential causes of the increase but not really clear how the word gets out to potential crime committers that “you don’t have to worry about the anti-crime unit anymore so run free about the city to cause mayhem”

    9. rj says:

      shootings up thank you Mr Mayor please resign it is the first step to make our city a safer place

    10. Johnny sins says:

      There were shots fired on 99th and Broadway today I would like to know what that’s about anyone?

    11. Abe Goteiner says:

      My family lived at 206 W. 99 St. for over 50 years and never a problem on the block.

    12. Dan says:

      On Sunday night, 5 minutes after midnight I heard gun shots (6 or 7.). We live on WestEnd Av and 100st. I heard nothing after. The next day I was looking for a News report of some sort but there was none. It is Tuesday and I now read that a shooting occurred on 99th and the bullet holes are proof. Are these separate incidents since this one was at 7:06pm? Anyone heard?

      This evening someone was shot on 99Th and broadway Just near the pet store.

      There are definitely deteriorating conditions in the past few months. I am not surprised that people are leaving.

      These are not good times …


    13. Michael says:

      To Bruce Bernstein-Your comment has nothing to do what indeed has become an open season based on apparent police retreat with absurd new bail laws with court restrictions due to the pandemic and to general eye shutting to actual events. The city needs tightening up in many ways including monitoring of apparent police misconduct. Not everything done by the police is misconduct. The civilization vs anarchy line is being worn thin.

      • Nevets K says:

        I agree.
        In Lord of the Flies, Golding dramatizes the conflict between “Civilization and Savagery.”
        His point, now being proven on our streets, is that “without the restraining influence of civilization, men turn into savages.”
        People without internal control – be they criminals, would be criminals, or angry students – act out savagely when external controls are removed. A slowdown by the police is a clear signal to the criminal class that they have little to fear from legitimate authority.
        Many of them must feel like they are back in our city’s public schools!
        But the result, because they are “grown up” now, is death, their own and the deaths of others, as well as a rending of our civilization.

    14. Christine says:

      What is the citizen app – the exact name? TY

    15. chuck d says:

      Quick poll: If you found that someone had shot your car, would you get it fixed, or drive around like a ganster? Answer in replies

      A. Get it fixed
      B. Drive like a gangster

    16. grandmasterbeta says:

      I heard this too. Live on 100th. But shooting at a car doesn’t seem like a gang thing; More like a kid thing. But now we have a stupid kid with a gun running around…

      • Chilly says:

        Come on Grandmasterbeta…how naive can you be? Those aren’t just kids shooting up cars for s#$ts and giggles. These are gangsters shooting each other because they cannot shoot straight. It’s not like they go to the range to sharpen their skills. Heck, they probably shoot their guns sideways aka gangsta style.

    17. Chilly says:

      Don’t forget. These drug dealing gangs have become brazen because they know the plainclothes street crime cops have been disbanded. Cops are now mostly reactive instead of preemptive.

    18. Anin Nomis says:

      I have lived on 99th St since 1971 and am seeing the decline of the neighborhood back to where it was in the 70’s. Except we have just begun so it will be many years (10-15)before it cleans up.

    19. Steevie says:

      The cold weather is coming, so in addition to masks people will be wearing wool caps with hoods over them. Add glasses and you won’t be able to recognize your own brother. Surveillance cameras will be useless.