Adams, Cornegy Decry State Response To Inner City Gun Violence

In the wake of yet another shooting in Crown Heights, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams delivered an impassioned speech at a vigil outside the gambling den where four people were shot dead and three wounded over the weekend.

The gruesome shooting spree erupted at about 7 a.m., Saturday, outside the Triple A Aces Private & Social Event Space, 74 Utica Avenue near Dean Street. According to several media reports, a disgruntled gambler who felt he was cheated, opened fire before being gunned down by the gambling den’s bouncer, who was also fatally wounded in the shootout.

Investigators recovered two firearms inside the location, a revolver and a 9-millimeter handgun. Authorities identified the dead as Terence Bishop, 36; Dominick Wimbush, 47, and John Thomas, 32, all of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Chester Goode, 37, of Canarsie.

Lit candles and four pairs of shoes representing the four shooting victims lie on the ground outside the Crown Heights social club and gambling den where the shooting took place on Saturday. Photo by Urshila Rana.

“This has destroyed our community, and we are outraged that the country continues to be dismissive of mass shootings in communities of color. This is a mass shooting,” said Adams, calling out the country’s disregard towards gun violence in communities of color and noting this was the second recent incident of a mass shooting in Central Brooklyn, following the late July Brownsville Old Timers Festival shooting that left one dead and 11 wounded.

“How many schools in this area received counseling the next day? How many family members and residents of this community received the necessary counseling?” he added.

Adams was referring to the U.S. Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), which oversees the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP), which supports victims and jurisdictions that have experienced incidents of terrorism or mass violence.

AEAP is designed to supplement the available resources and services of entities responding to acts of terrorism or mass violence in order to ensure that a program’s resources are sufficient and/or not diverted to these victims to the detriment of other crime victims.

City Council Member Robert Cornegy addresses reporters at the vigil. Photo by Urshila Rana.

Adams furthermore called out the discrepancy in the response of the state to gun violence in the suburbs as opposed to communities largely occupied by people of color.

“When you have shootings of this magnitude that occur in the suburban counties of our country and state, you see all the resources come. But here, in Crown Heights, in Brownsville, in South Jamaica, Queens, we normalize the violence and we say the people here are used to violence. No we are not. We are not used to violence,” said Adams.

Adams, a retired New York City Police Department captain, said America does not have an assault rifle crisis, it has an assault rifle problem, but it does have a handgun crisis.

“That is the leading number of killings in America, but the reason we don’t hear about it enough is because that crisis lies in the inner city, and as long as it lies in the inner city we are dismissive of it,” he said.

Additionally, Adams brought up the hesitancy in using the term “mass-shooting” to classify shootings that involve gang-members, arguing that,  “it is a set up to be dismissive of our community.” He continued, “We don’t have to wait till a community is gentrified before we start to understand that lives matter in the community.”

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr., (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) drew attention to the multiple organizations working to end gun violence in the community,

 “I just need the media to know that we’re not just here today responding to gun violence. There are individuals who work, the city council, the state, and the federal government that fund these organizations to make sure that there can be a reduction in crime. But every now and then it pops up and rears its ugly head in our communities and this is one of those examples,” said Cornegy.

Shootings are up 42.9 percent in the 77th Precinct as of Oct. 6. There have been 20 incidents so far in 2019, as opposed to 14 by this time in 2018, and nine murders this year compared to one by this time last year.

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