An apartment building which is home to many large Jewish families has been the scene of repeated gun violence in the last few days, and residents feel it’s only a matter of time before a major tragedy occurs – one which can be averted should police act.
As many as seven gun shots rang out inside 456 Brooklyn Avenue on Tuesday evening at around 7:30pm, and minutes later residents discovered four bullet holes in the front door of apartment 2D, along with a fifth in the wall near the door.
“It was crazy,” one resident told CrownHeights.info. “This is a building full of [Jewish] families with children and someone came in and shot at that apartment. Everybody was scared, my kids were screaming and they were traumatized.”
This incident closely follows another shooting which occurred on Sunday evening just around the corner on Lefferts Avenue near Brooklyn Avenue. Police received multiple calls for gunshots in the vicinity, and a large number of cops flooded the area.
Following an investigation, the police left; no arrests were made.
The next morning workers in the Beis Rivkah Head-Start Office discovered two bullet holes in the window and security gate, along with bullet fragments and casings. Once again police were called, and they collected the fragments for evidence.
Another resident said he believed the two shootings are connected to apartment 2D: “after the shooting, people were running into the building and then the police came. This all has to do with the ‘drug apartment,’” he said.
“People are coming and going at all hours, it always smells like drugs and people are scared,” he said, adding that he believes the police are not doing enough. “All they say is that it is under investigation, and it’s the same excuse I have been hearing for the more than three years that I have been living here.”
This building is no stranger to violence and criminal activity. Three years ago, residents discovered a pot growing operation on the roof, and a year later police raided an apartment from which there were alleged drug dealings. Residents complained that it is also the scene of loud arguments and occasional gun violence.
To make matters worse, one police officer reportedly told a resident “you guys are lucky, the building next door is even worse with many more drug apartments, violence and guns.” The building next door refers to 474 Brooklyn Avenue, a building with 54 apartments that is owned by landlord Yossi Popack, which has no Jewish residents.
“Yes it’s a bad building, hundreds of girls walk by every morning and it is an open air drug market at the buildings entrance. But is that supposed to make us feel better?” asked the resident.
Building management told CrownHeights.info that they are frustrated too. “We are constantly in contact with the police and have been working with them by turning over evidence like pictures and surveillance video from dozens of incidents, but it is not enough because they are not doing their part.
“Police made drugs busts and arrests in the apartment, but never followed them up, and once [they] get released from prison they return and are once again back in business.
“In many drug cases police send representatives to housing court and provide testimony on the crime in the apartment, but they never showed up to our cases in this building. [Detectives] tell us to be in touch and to follow up with them, and when we do we find out they are on vacation or have been transferred.”
“With all the children that play in the building’s hallways, the women that are home alone during the day, and the neighborhood’s largest girls’ school down the block, are [the police] waiting for a tragedy before they actually do something?” asked an exasperated resident.