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.