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Call to address gang violence in Flushing housing projects


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Peter Koo.

 

In the wake of the most recent shooting at Flushing’s James A. Bland House, Councilmember Peter Koo held a town hall meeting to discuss new security protocol at the Bland and Latimer housing projects.

According to reports, on Halloween, October 31, Alex Botero, 21, was shot and killed in an elevator in the Bland House, located at 40-21 College Point Boulevard. He was shot once in the head at approximately 5:45 p.m. and was later taken to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, where he was pronounced dead, reports say.

“This was a specific meeting to discuss serious crime issues that we wanted to address,” said James McClelland, chief of staff to Koo.

The meeting — held on Tuesday, November 15 — was planned months ago, after Koo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn put $400,000 toward new security systems at the Bland and Latimer Houses, McClelland said.

The money is allocated toward security cameras and new “smart doors” that will allow residents to swipe in and enter if they are on the lease. The new doors also prohibit those who are not legally allowed in the building from entering, McClelland said.

The new security systems — aimed at putting a halt to “ongoing gang violence that has been recently reinvigorated” — could be implemented as early as January or as late as April, according to McClelland.

Prior to the shooting in September, according to a police source, two men, both in possession of weapons, were arrested following a shooting at the Bland House on Saturday, September 10.

The source said that a man was shot in the leg. One of the perps, according to the source, was wearing a bullet-proof vest.