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Shea: Gun arrests over 7 days hit 25-year high but shooting plague continues

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday that city

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday that city cops made 160 arrests over the 7-day period ending on Sunday. Credit: Craig Ruttle

NYPD cops made 160 gun arrests in the week leading up to Labor Day — the most over a seven-day period in 25 years —  although shootings continued to plague parts of the city, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday.

In Brooklyn early Monday, a shooting wounded five, including a 6-year-old boy, during a J'ouvert-style celebration. The annual J'ouvert festival, which celebrates Caribbean culture and precedes the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn each Labor Day, was held virtually this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the shooting, Shea said the holiday weekend resulted in some "positive" developments because a shifting of overtime money put more cops on the street. 

“When you look at the weekend, specifically in Brooklyn, and really the whole week, there was bit of positive to talk about,” Shea said. "This weekend we got arrests all over the city, particularly in Brooklyn. I think we set a 25-year high in gun arrests in New York City.”

Shortly before 3 a.m. Monday, police responded to the Brooklyn shooting and found the five shooting victims at the celebration off Nostrand Avenue. None of the injuries were considered serious, police said. On Tuesday, the NYPD said investigators had arrested a 15-year-old boy in the case and charged him with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The annual J'ouvert festival was held virtually this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The 160 gun arrests took place in the seven-day period ending Sunday, Shea said, adding that there were 37 more such arrests on Labor Day, mostly in Brooklyn. Officials didn’t respond to a request for information about the earlier gun arrest record.

At his daily news briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio painted a picture of a relatively calm Labor Day weekend. He credited community leaders, crisis managers and the NYPD for doing "a great job on the ground."

Still, police data showed five shootings and 11 victims Monday, compared with only one shooting and one victim on the same date a year ago.

Shea acknowledged that while it was good to get the guns off the street, it was a bad sign that people are still carrying firearms and using them.

The latest NYPD statistics showed that for the week ending Sunday, the city recorded 51 shootings with 52 victims injured. Those numbers were down slightly from a week ago but still up 168% over the same period in 2019, with victims also up 136%. For the year to date, shootings are up 90% and victims up nearly 100% over last year, an upward trend that began in late May.

"Other indicators pointed to a 35% spike in homicides to 305. Overall major crimes declined by two percent, a trend seen during much of the pandemic."

Hours after Shea’s Tuesday NY1 interview, the NYPD reported three men shot outside a public housing development on DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn. A suspect fled the scene, police said. 

In a separate interview with Newsday, Chief Michael LiPetri, head of the department’s office of crime control strategies, said that a small area of central Brooklyn has accounted for 26% of all shootings so far this year, mostly by gang members.

With Matthew Chayes

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