Tag Archives: Guns

The good & ugly


| editorial@queenscourier.com


THE GOOD . . .

Taking back our streets.

We applaud the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) — and all others like it — in their efforts to curb vandalism.

Though we are lovers of art, we feel that graffiti is a blight on our communities.

It lowers the value of area homes and reduces sales in business districts.

And though the NYPD has resources allocated to graffiti removal, it is an uphill battle.

Often, spots that have been cleaned of vandalism will be retagged days — sometimes hours — later.

So bravo, WRBA, for your vigilance in finding, chronicling, and cleaning graffiti.

And, working with the NYPD, we hope that your efforts will help take some graffitists off the streets, making Queens a cleaner, more beautiful place to live.

THE UGLY . . .

In unrelated incidents, a two year old and a four year old fell victim to the latest spate of gun violence.

That brings the tally to three.

Three children, all under the age of five, have been hit by stray bullets this summer.

When will the madness end?

If the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, which left 12 dead and 58 injured, is not enough to spur action, then this should be.

We MUST urge our legislators to increase gun control. It is time we stood up.

Write, call email – TODAY – and tell your local senator and congressmember – even the president – that you are in favor of gun control.

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Phone: 202-456-1111

 

Senator Charles Schumer: 322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington D.C. 20510

Phone: 202-224-6542

 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 780 Third Avenue Suite 2601

New York, New York 10017

Phone: 212: 688-6262

Pols, police push for less violence; Say gun buybacks are pivotal


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

The shells are gone, but the discussion over whose responsibility it is to keep the streets safe has broken out into a different sort of fire fight.

After a wave of citywide violence that included several deaths in Queens, elected officials and the NYPD have each said the other side has to do more to keep the city safe.

For example, according to Councilmember James Sanders, there were no gun buyback programs in Queens over the course of the last three years.

Sanders, who represents the area where three men were killed and another critically injured in an AK-47 shooting, noted that all the other boroughs have had successful gun buybacks.

Adding to the fervor were comments by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly last week, when he said there had been a relatively silent response by elected officials in regards to the shooting.

State Senator Shirley Huntley said she wasn’t sure what the commissioner wanted from elected officials, adding she had a clear line of communication with the 113th Precinct and officers were keeping her well informed.

Sanders said that District Attorney Richard A. Brown needs to sponsor more gun buyback programs, as the most recent was in 2009, which Sanders helped organize.

In the six hours the drive lasted, Sanders said, more than 900 guns were taken off the streets.

“That [the shooting] took place on a residential street, directly in front of a public school, only serves to drive home the dangers that have crept into our community,” he said. “We will not tolerate it here, and we will move heaven and earth to ensure our safety and the safety of our children.”

Brown, in a statement, said getting weapons off the street was a key priority for the DA’s office — gun buybacks were just some of the ways to achieve this.

“We have used gun buy backs in the past and we will use them again when we deem them appropriate,” Brown said. “We are in constant dialogue with the NYPD about where and when to have one. I would remind individuals that they can currently turn in guns at their local police precinct and receive $100 – no questions asked.”

The NYPD does host buyback programs, which, according to police, have brought in more than 7,700 weapons since the venture’s inception. In a recent event at St. Benedict’s Church in Jamaica, police said more than 50 guns were taken off the street, including 19 semi-automatic handguns.

But officials say their next target needs to be reducing the use of automatic weapons. One suggestion, Sanders said, was that the federal government re-enact the Brady Bill, which banned the sale of automatic weapons nationwide.

Councilmember Leroy Comrie said that, to curb the violence, a more holistic approach to decreasing crime, including community engagement and getting more people jobs, must be taken.

“[We] need to get more jobs so there are fewer people walking around frustrated,” he said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the issue of violence on Sunday, July 15 at The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica, where he defended stop-and-frisk and called for a community effort to decrease crime citywide.

“And that’s why – in addition to everything else we are doing – police officers stop and question those who are suspected of criminal activity – and frisk those who are suspected of carrying a weapon,” he said. “Those stops have recovered thousands of guns over the past decade, and tens of thousands of knives.”

Shock cop suicide


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Shock cop suicide

An NYPD cop fatally shot himself last night while on-duty and interviewing the victim of a Queens car break-in, sources told The Post. The officer, whose name was withheld pending family notification, got into a heated argument on his cellphone with his girlfriend and fired one bullet into his face after the conversation ended at around 11 p.m., the sources said. The cop, a five-year veteran assigned to the 111th Precinct, went with his partner to a house on 211th Street near 85th Avenue in Hollis Hills to talk to a man whose car had been broken into Wednesday. Read More: New York Post

 

Bus teen shot on ‘slay’ line

A 16-year-old boy was shot in the leg yesterday while riding a bus on the Queens line that saw a fatal shooting last month, authorities said. The shooting took place at 3:20 p.m. on the southbound Q111 bus near Seagirt Avenue and Beach 20th Street in Far Rockaway, said an MTA spokesman. Police said the teen has been uncooperative and no arrests have been made. He was treated at Long Island Jewish Hospital After he was shot, the teen approached the driver to report that he had been shot in the leg, according to the MTA spokesman. On Dec 2, Damel Burton, 34, allegedly killed one innocent passenger and wounded another on a crowded Q111 bus in Jamaica. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Shoot Suspect In Attempted Carjacking

Police on Thursday shot a man accused of trying to carjack an elderly driver in Queens. Investigators say the suspect approached his 89-year-old victim while he was parked on Christie Avenue in Corona. The suspect allegedly struck the victim with a gun and then fled the scene. Police gave chase and the suspect later ran into a driveway on 46th Avenue. An officer fired one round at the suspect when he turned to police holding a gun. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun. Read More: NY1

 

Super outlook for Manning

This is when you separate the Mann from the boys. Win one game. Win this game. The hope and dreams of a storied franchise, of a city thirsting for another championship, heaped on one Mann’s shoulders. The Right Mann. The Only Mann Giants fans want for the job. Everyone can see the focus in his eyes, now and forever. He sees 49ers directly in front of him, and that Lombardi Trophy he craves to hoist again in the not-so-distant future. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Qaeda’ subway plotter No. 4

Federal prosecutors have revealed that there was a fourth man in the United States connected to a 2009 al Qaeda-sanctioned plot to blow up subway lines in New York City. Officials last week quietly revised the indictment against one of the conspirators, Adis Medunjanin, alleging that he — along with former high school classmates Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay — tried to recruit someone identified only as “John Doe” to travel to Pakistan “to wage violent jihad.” It’s the first time prosecutors indicated there was a fourth person in the United States linked to what may have been the most legitimate terror plot since 9/11. Now Medunjanin’s attorney, Robert Gottlieb, wants Brooklyn federal prosecutors to unveil the identity of the mystery man before he turns up as a possible witness at a trial set for March. Read More: New York Post

 

Parody video ‘S—t New Yorkers Say’ by blogger Eliot Glazer goes viral — and he doesn’t go to Queens

 

Out of left field

Pieces of Citi Field history — all three years of it — are on sale to the highest bidder. In a decidedly odd online auction, the cash-strapped Mets are hawking seven separate chunks of the padded barrier, that’s been guarded by such “old-time” Amazin’s legends as Daniel Murphy and Jason Bay. Flushing faithful with a few thousand bucks in their pockets can get their hands on markers celebrating their favorite corporate sponsors and championship teams. Mets VP Jay Horwitz insisted the sale isn’t a cash grab, just a routine auction prompted by the team’s left-field redesign. Read More: New York Post

Queens hotel fire rescue


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens hotel fire rescue

Firefighters fought their way through heavy smoke and shooting flames yesterday to rescue a man with no pulse from a burning Queens motel and bring him back to life. The victim was in a third-floor room at the Conduit Motor Inn in South Ozone Park at around 4 p.m. when members of Engine 302 and Ladder 155 arrived on scene. Firefighter John Summerville crawled into the room to stay beneath the smoke. “I found him face down by the window. The situation was like an inferno,” Summerville said. After reaching the victim, described as being in his 40s, Summerville pulled him out and put him in an ambulance, where another member of Engine 302 began performing CPR and got a pulse back. Read More: New York Post

Cuomo Turns His Budget Focus To Public Pensions, Education System

Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting ready to reveal his budget proposal for the new fiscal year on Tuesday. Although the governor would not share many details of the expected $130 billion plan in advance, he touted on Monday a brighter picture looking forward. “The good work that we did last year is actually going to pay dividends this year,” said Cuomo. “So, from just a budget point of view, where we had a true crisis last year, we had a $10 billion deficit, we had chaos. We have a much better budget situation on the numbers.” “We got a good start last year, moving in a better and a new direction. Took about a 90-degree turn,” said Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco of Schenectady. Read More: NY1

Astoria Houses kids now have ‘Promise’

More than 1,600 underprivileged children have been “granted” the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Local elected officials and community leaders gathered on January 13 to announce that a $500,000 Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) had been procured for the children of the Astoria Houses. Read More: Queens Courier

Druggists’ cure for anxiety: a pistol

Your friendly neighborhood pharmacist will soon be locked and loaded. Rattled druggists from Long Island to the city are increasingly applying for gun permits following a spate of fatal robberies by armed thugs desperate to score highly addictive painkillers. “I’m applying for a pistol permit because of this,’’ said Todd Svec, 48, a pharmacist and owner of the Arlo Drug store in Massapequa Park, LI. “I will feel safer if I have one.’’  Svec’s wife is also a pharmacist at the store — and his four daughters work there. He pointed out that Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in Seaford, LI, where on New Year’s Eve a pill-popping ex-con attempted a stickup that left the thug and an off-duty federal agent dead “is just two miles from here.”  Read More: New York Post

Baby born on PATH train between NJ & NYC

Next stop, maternity ward! A woman went into labor on a New York-bound PATH train yesterday, and her baby took the express track — he was born before the train even pulled in to its Manhattan terminal. When Rabita Sarkar and her husband, Aditya Saurabh, left their Harrison, NJ, home they were still planning their unborn child’s exciting future. But by the time their train rumbled into Manhattan’s 33rd Street station, they were a new family, complete with a baby boy and a train car full of honorary uncles and aunts. “He came in a very dramatic fashion,” the smiling new mom told The Post from her bed at Roosevelt Hospital. Read More: New York Post

One more time, vengeance shall be Giants’

The Giants wanted another shot at the 49ers, wanted the stakes higher than they were in November. Now they have it, and it doesn’t bother them in the least that the game is in San Francisco, because they would play this one, the one that is the Golden Gateway to Glory, on the moon. Jim Harbaugh has restored the pride to a storied franchise, and 60 minutes from the Super Bowl means the Giants will be expecting a hostile environment Sunday night — and possibly a rainy one as well — at Candlestick Park. “I can care less about how hostile it is, it’s a game,” Antrel Rolle said. “When you’re home, you want to bring ’em to their feet. When you’re away, you want to bring ’em to their knees, and that’s the way I look at it.” Read More: New York Post

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announces blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress

Wikipedia will black out the English language version of its website Wednesday to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, the foundation behind the popular community-based online encyclopedia said in a statement Monday night. The website will go dark for 24 hours in an unprecedented move that brings added muscle to a growing base of critics of the legislation. Wikipedia is considered one of the Internet’s most popular websites, with millions of visitors daily. “If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” the Wikimedia foundation said. Read More: Daily News

Politics Aside: Are NYC’s gun laws unconstitutional?


| RHornak@queenscourier.com


After years of complaints by all but the most ardent anti-gun activists, New York City’s insanely strict gun laws are finally being exposed for the unconstitutional mess they are after two separate incidents in December in which tourists, with all the proper permits from their home states, were arrested for possessing firearms.

In the first case, a man visiting from California was boarding a plane at LaGuardia and traveling with a legally-licensed gun that was being transported according to federal aviation law. When he declared the gun that was in his checked baggage, he was arrested for illegally carrying a firearm in NYC.

A week later, a woman visiting from Tennessee, with a legal carry permit from her home state, was arrested while visiting the 9/11 memorial. Upon seeing a sign that said “no guns allowed” she approached a police officer to inquire where she could check the .32 caliber pistol she carried in her purse.

Both of them are facing the possibility of serious jail time, stiff fines and huge legal bills, even while making every effort to comply with the law as understood. This is so clearly an egregious application of our overly restrictive gun laws that even Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver has called for leniency and a review of NY’s gun laws to make sure they make sense. When NY’s biggest industry is tourism, we can’t jeopardize our standing as one of the nation’s top attractions.

Putting aside the constitutional issues for a moment, we should have reciprocity with the other 49 states for visiting gun owners. We have reciprocity in dozens of other areas that are not even rights, but privileges. In NY, we recognize drivers’ licenses from any state, marriage contracts (including same- sex marriages), and all sort of other arrangements. Imagine if we arrested people driving through the state for not getting a license here, or if we refused to allow a spouse to visit their loved one in the hospital because we refused to recognize a marriage contract from another state.

That is the equivalent of what we do in NY. In fact, NYC’s laws are so much more restrictive than those even at the state level, that a hunter living on Long Island could be arrested while driving upstate with his rifles to go hunting.

We need to remember that the right to own a gun is protected by the constitution. The idea that every visitor should understand NY’s byzantine and oppressive gun laws is ludicrous. We should respect those that want to exercise their second amendment rights while making every effort to comply with basic, common sense gun laws. That includes for NY citizens as well, but that is another issue.

Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party. 

Alleged cop killer gets into Rikers Island brawl with guards


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Alleged cop killer gets into Rikers Island brawl with guards

Alleged cop killer Lamont Pride got into a fight with two jail guards after the ex-con refused to undergo a routine search, authorities said today. Pride, 27, has been charged in the murder of Officer Peter Figoski after he allegedly shot the cop in the face last week during a robbery attempt in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. Authorities told The Post that Pride, who has been at Rikers Island since his arrest on Dec. 12, was undergoing a medical exam Monday when he refused to cooperate with a routine search. Read More: New York Post

 

Mystery Donor Named In Cornell Tech Campus Bid

The person who made an anonymous $350 million donation to Cornell University for an applied sciences campus in the city has been identified. Billionaire philanthropist and Cornell alumnus Charles Feeney granted the money to the upstate university. Feeney made his fortune by building duty free airport shops before anybody had even heard of duty free shops. Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday announced that Cornell and Israel’s Technion Institute won the city’s competition to build the campus on Roosevelt Island. The mayor says the plan was chosen because of the its scale and the schools’ reputations for science breakthroughs and entrepreneurship. Read More: NY1

 

Five Suspects To Be Arraigned In Shooting Death Of NYPD Officer

One day after a city police officer shot and killed in the line of duty was laid to rest, the five men charged in his death are due in court. Lamont Pride, Kevin Santos, Ariel Tejada, Nelson Moralez, and Michael Velez are all expected to be arraigned on their indictments later today. They appeared in court Friday but did not enter any pleas. All five are charged with murder in the death of Officer Peter Figoski, 47. Speaking to reporters today, law enforcement officials said no mercy will be shown towards the accused men and that there is no chance of a plea bargain. Read More: NY1

 

Raising the stakes: Resorts World unveils VIP casino

High-rollers now have a space of their own at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park. Following a grand opening that drew more than 65,000 visitors, the casino at Aqueduct Racino unveiled the remaining two floors of its new facility on December 16 – showing off high-priced amenities and big payoff games. The new features include 2,514 additional Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG) at the Fifth Avenue Casino, bringing the grand total to 5,000 machines. The casino also gave visitors a sneak peak at two new 250-seat fine dining restaurants with private dining rooms and balconies featuring panoramic views of the racetrack. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Small plane crashes near Rt. 287 in NJ, 3 feared dead: report

Multiple fatalities were feared Tuesday after a small plane crashed on a New Jersey highway. Local television footage showed what appeared to be the charred remnants of the aircraft alongside Route 287 near Harding, N.J. The heavily-traveled roadway was closed in both directions. Harding Township police chief Kevin Gaffney told FOX News Channel that there were multiple fatalities. It was not immediately known how many people were on board the plane. State Police Trooper Christopher Kay says there is a report of three possible deaths. Read More: New York Post

 

Paroled American Berenson arrives in US

Paroled American Lori Berenson, who stirred international controversy when she was convicted of aiding Peruvian guerrillas, arrived in the United States Tuesday morning for her first visit home since Peruvian authorities arrested her in 1995. Lori Berenson’s plane touched down at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey around 7:35 a.m. The 42-year-old, dressed in black and a black-and-gray sweater vest, was surrounded by Port Authority officers. Her mother Rhoda Berenson, who was waiting in the general arrivals area, sprinted over to her daughter after police escorted Berenson through an area of customs where airport officials check suspicious bags. Read More: New York Post

 

Force of 20,000 in final salute to hero cop Figoski

He had been a cop for 22 years, but it was only after his death that Peter Figoski’s four daughters realized what that truly meant. “We now feel connected to a side of our dad we rarely saw at home — he put us aside from his duties as a police officer and always put us first,’’ the grief-stricken girls said in a heartbreaking statement read at their father’s funeral yesterday. “When a hero falls, an angel rises. Rest in peace, Daddy.’’ Read More: New York Post

 

Kim Jong Il body displayed, North Korea media hail son

The body of North Korea’s long-time ruler Kim Jong Il was laid out in a memorial palace Tuesday as weeping mourners filled public plazas and state media fed a budding personality cult around his third son, hailing him as “born of heaven.” Indicating that the leadership transition in the communist dynasty is on track, Kim Jong Un — Kim’s youngest known son and successor — visited the body with top military and Workers’ Party officials and held what state media called a “solemn ceremony” in the capital, Pyongyang, as the country mourned. Read More: New York Post

 

Firefighter hurt in booze-fueled 2003 brawl at Staten Island firehouse not entitled to line-of-duty payouts 

 The state’s highest court Tuesday rejected a former firefighter’s bid for full disability benefits for injuries sustained in an infamous 2003 firehouse brawl. Robert Walsh, who was injured in the booze-fueled melee on Staten Island, was not entitled to more lucrative line-of-duty benefits because his injuries were not related to his job, the Court of Appeals ruled, upholding lower court decisions. Read More: Daily News


Two Queens men charged in Connecticut pharmacy thefts


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Two Queens men charged in Connecticut pharmacy thefts

Two New York men were charged by Westport police Monday night with stealing $5,000 in merchandise from pharmacies here and area communities. The men, accompanied by an underage girl, were taken into custody shortly after 8 p.m. Monday when workers at the CVS on Post Road East called police to report that a man had fled after shoplifting merchandise. One of the men, Jeffrey L. Vaughn, 26, of Jamaica, and the girl were found in a car nearby with goods from the CVS as well as other area pharmacies, police said. The merchandise included teeth whitener, hair regrowth treatment, razor blades and allergy medicines, police said. Read More: Westport News

Mitt Romney selects Queens councilmember to lead campaign here

Councilmember Eric A. Ulrich has been named the New York City chairman for Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The New York GOP primary will be held on April 24, 2012. First elected in 2009 at age 24, Ulrich was the youngest serving member of the Council and serves as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. He is a former president of the Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park, and was active with the Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach, Jamaica Rotary and the 102nd Police Precinct Community Council.  Read More: Staten Island Live

Students rally against bullying at P.S. 11

The students of P.S. 11 are urging kids across the city to “give peace a chance.” Parents, faculty and all 1,300 children from the school, located at 54-25 Skillman Avenue in Woodside, united on November 22 for a peace march and anti-violence rally. The parade was in protest to the increase in bullying and violence that has become a perpetual problem plaguing schools. Students carried hand-made signs and photos and chanted cheers calling for peace. Read More: Queens Courier

Queens woman tries to stiff cabbie after ride to Poconos

A New York City woman is in jail after trying to bilk a car service out of a big bill. State police in Swiftwater said Riley Radha, 42, of Flushing, hired the Big Q Car Service in New York City to take her from Queens to Paradise Stream Resort in Marshalls Creek. The driver accepted $30 up front and Radha promised to pay the remainder of the bill upon her local arrival. However, police said Radha was unable to pay the remaining $320 when she got there around 7 a.m. Sunday, and was charged with theft of services. Unable to post bail, she was taken to Monroe County Correctional Facility. Read More: Pocono Record

Jackson Heights Straphangers Sickened By Droppings-Covered Subway Station

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm and Jackson Heights residents have raised a stink for a long time about the pigeon waste that falls down from the beams of the Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights subway station, but Dromm says he has a tough time getting the MTA to regularly clean it. Read More: NY1

Help The Queens Courier play Santa

To kick off the season of giving, The Queens Courier will be collecting items to be donated to the South Queens Boys and Girls Club (SQBGC) for our annual holiday gift drive. Founded in 1957, SQBGC strives to help young people improve their lives by building self-esteem and developing values and skills during critical periods of growth. The group’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from at-risk and disadvantaged circumstances. Donations can be dropped off at The Courier’s office, located at 38-15 Bell Boulevard in Bayside. Read More: Queens Courier

Parts Of Far Rockaway Nursing Home Are Without Power For Nine Days And Counting

One day after a Bronx nursing home resident died due to a faulty cable, Lisa McDivitt reports how a nursing facility in Far Rockaway marked day nine of a power outage of their own. Read More: NY1

Local Airports Confiscate Dangerous Weapons Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Transportation Security Administration officials showed off some dangerous weapons confiscated at area airports over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Port Authority police arrested a man bound for the Dominican Republic on Saturday after screeners at John F. Kennedy International Airport found a combination brass knuckles and knife in his checked bag. They also nabbed a man who they say was headed to Germany from Newark Liberty International Airport with a set of brass knuckles in his carry-on bag. On Sunday, authorities took a man into custody after they say he tried to carry a butterfly knife on board a plane at LaGuardia Airport. Read More: NY1

 


Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/09/2011: Queens Landlord Kills Tenant Before Committing Suicide


| jlane@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

No parole again for killer of NYC’s Kitty Genovese

The man who killed Kitty Genovese has been denied parole for the 15th time in a case that became notorious after reports that neighbors in her quiet New York City neighborhood failed to act as they heard the victim’s screams. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Queens Landlord Kills Tenant Before Committing Suicide

Neighbors widely knew that the owner of 111-11 143rd Street in South Jamaica, Queens wanted the tenants on the top floor and basement out of his house, due to a long-running dispute over rent. But on Tuesday, it became bloody in an apparent murder-suicide. Police said the home owner, 62-year-old Eulith Reid, chopped his 48-year-old basement tenant Hettie Patterson in the head with a machete, killing her. He then stabbed himself in the neck and also died. They were pronounced dead in Jamaica Hospital. Read More: NY1

 

Aqueduct Racino Pulls In $15M During First Stretch

The new casino at Aqueduct Racetrack is on a big winning streak, but not without some small bumps along the way. Watch the video: NY1

 

Queens group builds housing and new lives for former inmates  

For women leaving prison, one of the greatest challenges is finding a stable place to live. That’s why nonprofit group Hour Children is creating affordable housing in Long Island City for formerly incarcerated women trying to rebuild their lives. Read More: Daily News

 

Long Island City housing complex plagued by shootings

Constant fear caused by frequent shootings has left the residents of Astoria Houses in a frenzy. The housing development, located at 4-20 Astoria Boulevard in Long Island City, has been plagued by gun violence for years, according to the people who call the houses home. Read More: Queens Courier

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/04/2011: Queens Officials To Stand Against Swastika Graffiti


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Queens Officials To Stand Against Swastika Graffiti

Four swastikas showed up on the walls of the Jackson Heights branch of the Queens Library Thursday. At least one more was painted on the library branch in East Elmhurst, and another was etched on the door of a synagogue on 88th Street. Police believe the incidents in three separate locations are related. They are being investigated by the hate crimes taskforce. Local leaders plan to hold a news conference Friday to denounce this kind of hateful vandalism. Read More: NY1

 

‘Fresh Meadows Rules’ Facebook group unites former residents from around the world in Queens

More than 150 former Fresh Meadows residents reunited last week to celebrate the planned neighborhood many remember as a small utopia tucked away in Queens. The gathering, organized through a Facebook group called Fresh Meadows Rules, brought residents from all over the country and even overseas back to Queens to meet up with childhood pals and revisit local landmarks. Read More: Daily News

 

Melanie Webb, Long Island City woman, pleads guilty to shooting slay of her sister,Tara, on victim’s birthday

A Long Island City woman pleaded guilty Thursday to fatally shooting her sister on the victim’s 27th birthday.Melanie Webb, 25, also shot Tara Webb’s boyfriend, Terrell Carmichael, on March 26 in the Long Island City apartment they all shared, she admitted. A source close to the case said Webb shot her sister Tara in her bed and turned her gun on Carmichael, hitting him twice in the torso in the shower. Read More: Daily News

 

Queens high school students to help upstate NY rebuild after Hurricane Irene ravaged homes and businesses

Students at a Bellerose high school will soon get a lesson in what it means to build stronger communities — one nail at a time. The Habitat for Humanity club at the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and the Sciences is raising money and supplies for a trip to upstate New York to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Irene. The group plans to partner with a yet to-be-determined Binghamton high school by the end of the year. It also plans to donate cleaning and school supplies. Read More: Daily News

 

FEMA extends deadline for Hurricane Irene victims

There’s a ray of hope for those affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in August. On Oct. 31, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a deadline extension for individuals seeking disaster assistance. The new FEMA registration deadline is Dec. 15. Read More: Staten Island Live

Queens’ Morning Round Up – 11/03/2011: 12 charged in Queens with $95 million Medicare fraud


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

12 charged in Queens with $95 million Medicare fraud

Federal authorities in New York City charged 12 people — including several doctors — with scheming to submit more than $95 million in false Medicare claims. The 12 were charged Wednesday with participating in Medicare fraud and money-laundering offenses in Brooklyn and Queens. In addition to three medical doctors, they include a chiropractor and a doctor of osteopathy. As part of the scheme, prosecutors said three Brooklyn health clinics paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries and used the beneficiaries’ names to bill Medicare for $71 million worth of services that were never provided. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

 

Queens woman suffers miscarriage during deportation attempt by ICE; Feds reverse decision

The case of a Queens woman who suffered a miscarriage last month as she was about to be deported to Ecuador is being held up as a symbol of gaps in President Obama’s new immigration policy. Julia Casares, 36, was in the process of being expelled under new policies meant to target violent criminals and fresh arrivals while giving a temporary pass to longtime undocumented residents who pose no threat and have strong ties to the U.S. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Prosecutor in Sean Bell trial calls for firing of NYPD detective who shot man to death on wedding day

An NYPD trial ended Wednesday with a prosecutor calling for the firing of an undercover detective whose gunfire sparked the 50-shot barrage that killed a bridegroom on his wedding day.Nancy Slater lambasted Detective Gescard Isnora for a series of overreactions after leaving a Queens strip club and following Sean Bell and two friends under the mistaken impression they were going to get a gun. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Brooklyn man confesses to brutally slashing teenage girlfriend’s throat

A man confessed to murdering a 16-year-old girl in Brownsville, claiming he meant to slash her face and accidentally slashed her throat, killing her. Rashad Salaam, 22, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with murder in savage slaying of Kyanna Thomas. Thomas, of Rosedale, Queens, was visiting her aunt’s home in Bedford Stuyvesant when she snuck out a bedroom window to attend a party, said police. She was found with her throat slashed on MacDougal Street and Saratoga Avenue at 3 a.m. on September 25. She was able to call 911 for help before she died. Read More: Daily News

 

Worker Dies While Using Lawn Mower for Warmth

As the cold, heavy snow pelted a disbelieving city last Saturday, a landscaping crew — thoroughly chilled after hours spent working outside a church in the Bronx — loaded their equipment into two trucks and headed back to Queens, ready to call it an early day. In the back of one, surrounded by the tools of the trade, Jorge Perez and his cousin struggled to get warm. One of them fired up a lawn mower, hoping the engine might double as a hearth. The improvised attempt for warmth would turn out to be fatal. Mr. Perez, 21, would soon be found dead inside the truck, with his cousin critically injured; detectives in the 103rd Precinct in Queens believe that the culprit was carbon monoxide poisoning, the police said. Read More: Daily News

Drug bust at LeFrak City


| tcimino@queenscourier.com


A seven-month undercover investigation at LeFrak City netted the arrest of 46 people on drug and other charges.

The defendants – who range in age from 17 to 63 – are charged with selling crack and powdered cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and other controlled substances, including prescription medications, to undercover police officers on hundreds of occasions over a seven-month period in and around LeFrak City.

In one instance, it is alleged that 14 undercover drug purchases were made from two men who were operating out of a licensed day care center at the complex. In another instance, it is alleged that in executing a search warrant at another complex apartment, the tenants – one of whom is an inspector at the City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission – tried to evade arrest by releasing a pit bull whose vocal cords had allegedly been cut. The dog was captured, but not before attacking one of the officers who required medical treatment.

“This initiative is yet another step in our continuing campaign to stop drug-dealing and drug-based violence in Queens,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “These arrests underscore our commitment to improve the quality of life for the residents of LeFrak City.”

The investigation began in March 2011 when detectives assigned to the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Division received information regarding drug dealing around LeFrak City. In response, the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Division and District Attorney Brown’s Narcotics Investigation Bureau dispatched numerous undercover officers to purchase crack and powdered cocaine, heroin and marijuana. During the course of the investigation, undercover officers additionally purchased methadone, Ecstasy, oxycodone, codeine and Xanax, among other drugs.

Fourteen drug sales were allegedly made out of 98-38 57th Avenue, apartment 2K, which is the location of the state-licensed Burke-Arthur Day Care Center whose listed owner is Diane Burke. Two of the defendants – Hector Rodriguez and Donnell Burnhill who are, respectively, Burke’s son and the father of Burke’s daughter’s baby – are accused of selling undercover officers marijuana, crack cocaine and Ecstasy pills from the daycare center, which has the capacity to care for 12 children.

In addition to the arrests, officers executed thirteen court-authorized search warrants and allegedly recovered nearly seven pounds of marijuana, more than two pounds of cocaine, various amounts of crack cocaine, over 3,600 pills, $3,400 in cash, and a 25-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

In executing a search warrant at 96-08 57th Avenue, apartment 4C, it is alleged that police observed Eugene Griffin, a New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission lieutenant inspector, exiting the location smoking a marijuana cigarette. When told not to move by police, it is alleged that Griffin re-entered the two-bedroom apartment. As police entered the apartment, a pit bull, whose vocal cords apparently had been altered to prevent the animal from barking, was released in an effort by those inside to evade arrest.

Arrested at the location was Eugene Griffin, 62, his wife, Joanne Griffin, 62, their son, Omar R. Griffin, 30, and Ricketta Smith, 23, on multiple charges – including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. Allegedly recovered at the apartment were 263 zip lock bags of marijuana, a black bag containing a pound of marijuana, a plastic tube containing cocaine, three electronic scales, a grinder with marijuana, a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol and other items.

Police additionally served a nuisance abatement order on the day care center, the Griffins’ apartment, as well as three other apartments in the complex.

The defendants are variously charged with multiple counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of marijuana, criminal possession of marijuana and criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions.

In addition to drug charges, some of the defendants are variously charged with criminal possession of a weapon, assault and resisting arrest.

Barbara Sheehan lawyers plan appeal


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

doc4e94bdb26342e459636730

The chapter of the Barbara Sheehan murder trial is complete, but the story’s conclusion has yet to be written.

Although the 50-year-old mother of two was acquitted of second degree murder, a jury of nine women and three men chose to convict her of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008 in their Howard Beach home.

“It’s sad what happened, but I had no choice,” said Barbara, who claims she was trying to escape from her house when her husband confronted her. “He aimed a gun at me. He tried to kill me, and I had to defend myself. I tried to get away, but he wouldn’t allow me to. At the time I thought that if I had a gun maybe he wouldn’t come at me, but that didn’t work.”

Barbara, who faced 25 years to life in prison before being found not guilty of murder, could serve between two and a quarter to 15 years behind bars depending on sentencing. The Howard Beach resident was very disappointed with the jury’s verdict, and her lawyers believe the decision to be inherently contradictory.

“Our opinion is that the jury’s verdict is inconsistent as a matter of law,” said Niall MacGiollabhui, one of Barbara’s attorneys. “If you act in self defense, then that is not unlawful. It is lawful to act in self defense, and it is lawful to use a weapon in self defense even if it is not licensed to you because your intention is not to use it unlawfully, but in self defense.”

Barbara was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, October 12 to surrender. MacGiollabhui says an appeal of the conviction is imminent, and he also intends to submit an application to the appellate division to allow Barbara to remain on bail pending her sentencing and the results of the appeal.

As of press time, it remained uncertain whether Barbara would be allowed to remain out on bail.

According to MacGiollabhui, the District Attorney’s office has a record of text messages retrieved from the cell phones of Barbara and her children and sent by Raymond on the days leading up to his death. MacGiollabhui says that the messages confirm that Raymond was threatening both Barbara and their children, and that they could prove to be vital evidence during the appeal.

Although the DA’s office advised the defense to contact Verizon regarding the records, MacGiollabhui says the telephone company is unable to locate them. The attorney also says the defense is constitutionally entitled to the records, and he will make a formal request to the judge that the evidence be shared if the DA’s office proves uncooperative.

“The DA put on a case that Barbara and her children fabricated the domestic violence,” said MacGiollabhui. “If they put on that kind of a case, while they had evidence in their possession proving that Barbara’s husband made threats to her, to me that’s utterly dishonest.”

MacGiollabhui says the appeal may last at least another year, meaning Barbara’s fight to preserve her life is far from over.

“It’s been very difficult,” Barbara said – moments after her trial went to jury. “It continues to be very difficult until it is over.”

102nd Precinct commander wants to address problems


| mchan@queenscourier.com

doc4e80b91d51c22795416902

The most recent 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting drew a larger crowd than usual, according to Community Council President Maria Thomson and Deputy Inspector Armando DeLeon.

More than 50 local residents attended the monthly meeting in Richmond Hill on Tuesday, September 20 to voice their current concerns, as well as issues they encountered over the summer.

DeLeon commenced the meeting with the Precinct’s Cop of the Month award, given to Officer Anthony Scapicchio.

Scapicchio was honored for arrests he made on September 11. During his routine walk throughout Richmond Hill, Scapicchio saw three evasive and suspicious men kneeling down by a nearby vehicle, DeLeon said. After calling for back-up and upon further investigation, Scapicchio found two loaded firearms near the wheel well of the vehicle and one man pretending to be asleep inside.

The three men were arrested. The precinct later found that one of the men had a prior murder conviction and was on parole; another had a “laundry list” of charges and close to 20 prior arrests, and the third was a known drug dealer.

One of the firearms had the serial number scratched off and the other was discovered stolen, Community Affairs Officer Joseph Martins said.

“It was clear they were going to do something bad, whether or not it was related to 9/11,” DeLeon said. “Officer Scapicchio was able to stop it before it happened.”

DeLeon then addressed residents’ concerns about nearby break-ins on 107th Street and the slow response time of 9-1-1 calls.

Martins said there were no robberies on 107th Street after a 10-day observation period, which was held after a resident expressed concern that his neighbor had a door kicked in.

DeLeon then explained how the precinct has limited resources and that all calls are answered according to high priority.
“If you’re waiting five minutes and it’s an emergency, I understand it’s going to feel like an hour,” he said. “We will answer your calls, but it may not be as fast as three or four minutes.”

The majority of complaints residents made were about increased noise pollution in the area, especially over the summer. At least three different residents said they ran into altercations with neighbors who were playing loud music outside. In two cases, the neighbors became confrontational and threatening.

DeLeon asked the residents to never confront their neighbors and to call the precinct instead.

“It can become more dangerous for you if you’re no longer anonymous and they know you’re the one who called the police,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, DeLeon asked the residents to call him directly so that he may address issues as soon as possible.

“If you run into a problem tomorrow, don’t wait until next month’s meeting to tell me,” he said. “I have never turned away a single person who walked into the precinct to talk to me about any issues they may have. Not once.”