Tag Archives: John Barnett

Wave of crimes hit Queens with heat wave


| tcullen@queenscourier.com


In a week filled with shootings throughout the city, Queens did not remain bulletproof.

Between July 4 and July 7, the borough had four deaths, one man critically wounded and an MTA cop suffering a sight-threatening injury.

Councilmember Peter Vallone, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said this spike in citywide crime comes from several factors.

“It’s a pretty simple equation: fewer cops plus more criminals equals more crime,” he said.

Because of budget cuts, Vallone said, the NYPD has fewer cops covering more crimes. He also mentioned the state’s repeal of the Rockefeller era drug laws. These factors — along with soaring temperatures — were causing a higher-than-normal spike in crimes, he said.

On early Saturday, July 7, three men were fatally shot, and a fourth wounded, in Jamaica. Police said were two shooters — one of whom fired 63 rounds from an AK-47. This was one of several shootings or stabbings to take place over what was considered the Fourth of July weekend. At deadline, police said there still had been no arrests and the investigation was ongoing.

It was reported that the Jeep Grand Cherokee the men occupied was double parked as it dropped a friend off. The men were followed, several newspapers reported, after one had reportedly given a look to a woman at a Brooklyn night club.

Vallone said it was rare to see an AK-47 being used, and attributed it to the federal government not cracking down on gun laws. The three-term councilmember said he’d already set forth a resolution to get rid of what he called loopholes in purchasing guns, such as background checks not required at gun shows or online through sites like Craigslist.

A few days earlier, Edgar Owens — who had a history of attacking cops — came at MTA officer John Barnett at the Jamaica LIRR station on the morning of July 4. Owens stabbed Barnett, who has served as an MTA cop for almost 13 years, in the left eye. Had the stab been an inch deeper, an MTA spokesperson said, the knife would have hit his brain.

Despite the injury, Barnett was still able draw his weapon and fire four shots at the attacker, hitting him in the chest, jaw and hip, according to an MTA press release.

Barnett was released from the hospital the following day to the applause of fellow officers. An MTA spokesperson said there has not been any prognosis as to his eye. And though he is due for reconstructive surgery, it is unclear yet if he will regain his sight.

Stabbed MTA officer John Barnett released from hospital


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Mike Stavisky

MTA officer John Barnett, who fended off an attacker that stabbed him in the eye, was released from the hospital last night.

Despite an injury that could potentially take sight from one of his eyes, Barnett was able to fire four shots into his attacker, who police say assailed the veteran transit cop for no reason, at the Jamaica LIRR station.

Barnett, who has served the MTA for almost 13 years, was attacked by a knife-weilding Edgar Owens on Wednesday, July 4 when Owens confronted the officer, and proceeded to stab him in the eye. After repeated warnings, the officer shot at Owens four times — hitting him thrice, MTA officials said.

Both were brought to Jamaica Hospital, where Owens was later pronounced dead, officials said.

Barnett was released last night, though no prognosis was made on his eye’s recovery.

Had the stabbing been one inch deeper, it would have made contact with Barnett’s brain, an MTA spokesperson.

Service was not interrupted during the investigation, except for some temporarily-blocked staircases.

MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota rushed to Jamaica Hospital after hearing about the altercation, according to an MTA release.

Lhota said that hopes were high for Barnett and commended him for his bravery.

“The entire MTA family is praying for Officer Barnett to make a full recovery,” Lhota said. “He did exactly what we expect of all of our officers: In a split second, confronted with a violent individual who posed a threat to everyone around him, he took action without regard to his personal safety. We are all in awe of his bravery.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo also called Barnett and likewise recognized his heroics in the statement.

“Today we are reminded once again of the bravery and sacrifice of our men and women in law enforcement, and the many dangers that accompany the important job of keeping our state’s residents safe,” Cuomo said. “We applaud Officer Barnett’s bravery and pray for a full recovery.”

Barnett served one year with the NYPD before moving over to the MTA in 1999, according to the MTA. He has also served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as an officer in the Naval Reserves.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Stabbed MTA officer leaves hospital, eager to return to the job

A wounded Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officer was released from the hospital and headed home Thursday, one day after he was stabbed in the eye during a confrontation in Jamaica, Queens. Dozens of MTA and city police officers were on hand to applaud at Jamaica Hospital as Officer John Barnett was brought out in a wheelchair, with a hat pulled down over his eyes. Read more: [NY1] 

Four-alarm fire sweeps through Queens residential street 

More than a dozen firefighters sustained minor injuries battling a four-alarm fire in South Richmond Hill, Queens on Thursday. It started in a house on 112th Street on Thursday afternoon and spread to the surrounding houses. Authorities say about 175 firefighters worked for an hour and 20 minutes to extinguish the flames. Read more: [NY1]

Queens lifeguard Emily Harms hailed as hero after rescuing 11-year-old from drowning

She is 21 years old, looks more like a teenager and is hardly your typical vision of the heroic lifeguard. But Emily Harms from Bellerose, Queens is all that and more. An 11-year-old boy might not be alive if not for her heroism. CBS 2′s Scott Rapoport spoke with her Thursday and heard the remarkable story. Read more: [1010wins] 

‘Transfer’ schools offer at-risk students a chance to graduate 

For some Queens high school graduates this year, the commencement ceremony represents achieving the previously impossible. But the special schools that made it happen often are tarred with bad marks due to federal standards that overlook their value, school administrators and education experts say. Ryan Rodriguez, 19, of Corona, attributes his success to North Queens Community High School — what is known as a “transfer” school, which takes students who are at risk of aging out of regular high schools. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Danielle Thomas Update: Ky. wake for Qns. executive 

Hundreds of mourners packed a Kentucky church yesterday to mourn a “small-town girl’’ who came to New York with big dreams, only to be murdered — allegedly by her lawyer boyfriend in Queens. Some 800 friends and family members wept as they filed into Centenary Methodist Church and surrounded the closed casket holding Weight Watchers executive Danielle Thomas. Read more: [New York Post] 

Scaffolding that malfunctioned in Queens wasn’t sanctioned 

The scaffolding that malfunctioned on Monday in Sunnyside leaving a worker dangling for dear life was not sanctioned, the Daily News has learned. The incident underscores a dark underbelly within the construction trade, a Queens lawmaker said Thursday. The city Department of Buildings issued a partial stop-work order at the 45th St. construction site and is investigating what caused the scaffolding to collapse, officials said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Fireworks light up the night as New Yorkers celebrate Independence Day 

Millions of New Yorkers and tourists alike celebrated the nation’s birthday Wednesday night with the 36th annual Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show. An estimated 40,000 fireworks lit up the sky over the five boroughs, propelled from two barges on the Hudson River in what was billed as the largest display in the country. The event was the culmination of days of preparations. Read more: [NY1] 

Beloved grandmother, a victim of callous hit-and-run in Queens, slowly recovering from horrific wounds

A beloved grandmother who was mowed down and left for dead on a Queens street last month is slowly recovering — but the callous driver is still at large. Bidi Kahn, 65, a widowed mother of six with “a bunch” of grandchildren, has been surrounded by her family at Jamaica Hospital as her face heals from the horrific wounds she endured in the hit-and-run nightmare. She said the support of her family has been keeping her going. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Saving the day just part of the daily rounds for MTA bus driver

Call him the Astounding Busman. The temperature plunged to 13 degrees at 6 a.m. that snowy Feb. 6, 2004, when Glen Moyles pulled his Q12 bus out of Casey Stengel Depot on Roosevelt Ave. in Queens and groaned over the Northern Blvd. overpass above icy Flushing Bay. Up ahead in the swirling white haze Moyles spotted an idling car parked in the right lane. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens-bound tour bus crash injures 23; no charges filed 

Police are investigating a tour bus crash in Westchester County that sent nearly two dozen people to the hospital Wednesday. New York State Police say the bus was traveling from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut to Queens just before 6:30 a.m. when the driver lost control on I-95. Read more: [NY1] 

Queens boy, 4, drowns in relatives’ backyard pool 

A 4-year-old boy drowned in relatives’ backyard pool during a Fourth of July party last night in Queens, authorities said. Firefighters arrived at the Beverly Road home in the Douglas Manor neighborhood just before 6 p.m. to find the unconscious child, identified by police as Christos Voulkoudis, lying next to the pool after he was pulled out by family members. Read more: [New York Post]

MTA cop shoots, kills psycho who stabbed him in the eye in unprovoked attack

An MTA cop who survived two wars as a Navy officer was stabbed in the eye by a police-hating lunatic at an LIRR station — but the bleeding officer managed to shoot his attacker dead before the man could strike again. “He’s a real hero,” MTA chief Joe Lhota said of Officer John Barnett, who has also served with the NYPD. Read more: [New York Post]