NYPD top cop Dermot Shea: Bronx shootings are ‘back to a level not seen since 1996’
13th July 2021

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The Bronx has not experienced this amount of gun violence since the mid-1990s, the city’s top cop said Tuesday — as he decried the borough’s rampant gang warfare exclusively detailed by The Post.

“The Bronx is back to a level not seen since 1996,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on NY1 — noting that “in the last six months of last year, we had 1,000 shootings in New York City.

“We’ve had a bad run right now in the Bronx, specifically with gang violence involving young kids,” Shea said.

“And this is what literally … keeps me up. It kept me up last night. What are we going to do about this? And I think everyone should be talking about [it],’’ Shea said.

The commissioner’s comments came after a 13-year-old boy and two other male teens were fatally shot in a string of gang-fueled killings over five days in the borough starting last week.

Law enforcement sources told The Post on Monday that the teens’ deaths were part of a “major gang war” going on in the Bronx at the moment — fueled by the lax gun-crime prosecution of minors.

The third teen killed, 16-year-old Ramon Gil-Medrano, had three open gun cases against him, including one for an armed carjacking that he allegedly pulled off after being freed in two weapons possession cases.

“You have a 16-year-old kid arrested three times in 90 days with guns,’’ Shea said. “Like, where is the outrage, and where are the hearings to say, ‘What’s going on? Why would this kid be put back onto the street over and over and over without meaningful help? … What is the plan here? Where’s the mentorship?’”

“What I want people to realize is when we’re putting kids back on the street over and over after they’re caught with guns over and over, you’re hurting the chances of other kids to succeed,’’ the commish said.

“If we don’t want to put them into jail, which I firmly can understand, it’s got to be a program that actually is measured and works and has accountability, not the judge saying, ‘OK, you’re not going to jail, go back on the street,’ and no one knows where this kid is.”

As The Post reported Monday, the latest NYPD crime statistics show that the number of shooting victims in the Bronx have skyrocketed so far this year compared to the same period in 2020.

There have been more than 318 victims to date compared to 193 last year, for a nearly 65 percent increase.

Overall, New York City has seen a surge in gun violence since the pandemic shuttered the city last year — although recent data does show signs of slowing, with consecutive weeks recording a downtick in shootings.

“There’s four weeks in a row we’ve come in with less shootings than last year,’’ Shea noted. “But we have so far to go, and no one is championing anything when we have three kids killed in a week.”

City crime overall plunged in 1996 during Bill Bratton’s first stint as police commissioner, but data for shootings in the Bronx that year was not immediately available.

As for what appears to be a slowing down of local calls to defund the Police Department, or taking money from its budget earmarked for officers and moving it to more community-based programs, Shea said, “I think I said … last year, ‘Mark the day down,’ that it’s not going to be long before people are calling for more cops.

“I mean, we knew this was going to happen,” he said. “Look at this incident with the kids in the Bronx, and that’s what they are, kids.

“In the last year, we’ve had to push back on the City Council asking us to get rid of a database about gangs. We’ve been asked not to stop cars. We have been asked — there’s a state law that was being proposed, and thankfully it didn’t pass — ‘Don’t interview kids when they’re arrested,’ even when the parents say to interview them.

“Can you imagine the impact any of these three would have?” he said. “The police and the investigators need tools.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, asked later on 1010 WINS radio about Shea’s comments urging outrage over the Bronx violence, appeared to push accountability for the issue on the state and feds.

“There’s a lot we need to do,” said the mayor, who is finishing up his final term in office.

“But we need help from the state government. We need help from the federal government. … We need federal help stopping the flow of guns in New York City. We need state help continuing to improve our laws,” he said, without offering any solutions from his administration.

Additional reporting by Julia Marsh

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