NYC shootings skyrocket as court closures let pistol perps walk free
City shootings piled up at a rate of one per hour on Saturday — with more gunplay on Sunday — as an NYPD chief warned that hundreds of gun-possession defendants have been allowed to prowl Gotham thanks to coronavirus-closed courts.
“We have over 1,000 people that have been indicted on a gun-possession charge, where the cases are open, and they are walking around the streets of New York today,” Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri told The Post.
That tally doesn’t include about 800 additional defendants who are charged with illegally packing heat but have yet to be formally indicted when the courts ground to a halt, LiPetri said.
With all but the most pressing court proceedings at a standstill during the public-health emergency — and those that remain in effect being conducted virtually — the cases have created a logjam.
“This isn’t the DAs’ fault. I get it,” LiPetri said. “They do have a very tough situation.”
But even when the wheels of justice do finally accelerate again, the backlog won’t be cleared overnight, with alleged gunslingers free to walk the streets that much longer until the system can catch up.
“It’s gonna be a massive backlog,” LiPetri said. “We’re concerned.”
The warning came as bullets continued to fly over the weekend, with 24 people shot citywide on Saturday, according to the NYPD — equaling a rate of one every hour.
That tally partly includes eight people shot in the span of nine hours late Saturday into early Sunday, with gunfire erupting in every borough except Queens.
That hellish run began in the East Village at around 7:20 p.m. Saturday, when a a 51-year-old man was fatally shot in the leg during an argument on East 12th Street near Avenue C, police sources said.
The victim was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
His name is being withheld pending family notification of his death.
In East Harlem, an 18-year-old man caught a bullet in the left hand at around 8:40 p.m. in a squabble on Second Avenue near East 101st Street, sources said.
Just under an hour later, a 22-year-old man was shot in the chest at Burnside and Jerome Avenues in the Bronx, according to sources.
At around 10:45 p.m, a 21-year-old man was shot in the leg at the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, sources said.
The violence didn’t subside as Saturday bled into Sunday.
At around 2:30 a.m., a 24-year-old man sitting in his car at Dekalb and Targee streets in Park Hill, Staten Island, was shot in the butt and right ankle when another motorist with whom he was arguing opened fire, sources said.
Back in Brooklyn, two men and a woman were shot just before 4:20 a.m. on Sterling Place near Ralph Avenue in Brownsville, sources said. The woman and one of the men, both 33, were brought by first responders to Brookdale Hospital with wounds to the back and left ankle, respectively, sources said.
The other man, 42, made his own way to Woodhull Hospital, where he was treated for a wound to his right hip.
The trio is not cooperating with police, according to sources.
The surge in shootings was well in the works before this weekend.
The year got off to a violent start, with January and February cumulatively seeing 18 more shootings than the same two months last year, NYPD statistics show.
While the gunfire died down in March and April, which together saw six fewer shootings than in the same months in 2019, it surged last month, when 100 shootings were recorded — 39 more than in May 2019.
LiPetri noted that a historically high 17 percent of this year’s incidents have involved a parolee on either end of the gun.
“We’ve never seen a higher percentage of parolee-involved incidents with shootings, since we’ve been tracking it in ’05,” he said.
LiPetri also observed that of the 110 people shot between June 1 and June 18, 24 percent had an open court case for gun possession.
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