Tag Archive | "Crime"

Bengali immigrant savagely beaten

Police are searching for two suspects in the assault on Bimal Chanda in his Kingsbridge apartment. JASMEET SIDHU/The Bronx Ink)

The fatal beating of a Bengali man in his Kingsbridge building last week has shaken members of the north Bronx Bengali community, who now believe he was targeted because of his ethnicity.

Bimal Chanda, a 59-year-old former taxi driver, was robbed and severely beaten on the second-floor landing of his apartment building on 190th Street just off of Fordham Road on the morning of October 29. He died in the hospital four days later from severe head trauma, leaving behind a wife and a 16-year-old daughter.

Friends were shocked at the brutal assault of Chanda, who emigrated to Kingsbridge from Calcutta, India nearly 30 years ago.

“He was an innocent guy who was killed intentionally,” said Mohammed Ali, a member of Community Board 7, who had been friends with Chanda for more than 10 years. “The Bengali community is very afraid of this biased crime. It’s a hate crime.”

Ali said Chanda, an acute diabetic, was moving from his apartment on the third floor to a condominium in Parkchester, because of concerns about crime in the area. He and his wife were picking up the last of their possessions in the apartment when Chanda left to purchase tape from a nearby 99-cent store.

That’s when two men grabbed him from behind on the staircase and struck him on the head with a metal object. The commotion could be heard throughout the apartment building, which has no security cameras or working locks on the front entrance.

“I heard a big noise,” said first-floor resident Nidia Rodriguez, whose 16-year-old son attended elementary school with Chanda’s daughter. “Then I heard his wife screaming.”

Another resident on the first floor, Sara Inoa, rode in the ambulance with an unconscious Chanda and his wife Chaya, both of whom she had known for 17 years.

“She came banging on my door, asking for help,” said Inoa. “He was lying on the floor with his head bleeding. For me, he was dead right there.”

Ali said he doesn’t believe the incident was just a robbery, since Chanda still had his cell phone and more than $80 in his pocket when he was taken to the hospital.

“Robbers, they target us,” said Ali, referring to what he said has been a series of thefts and attacks on Bengalis in the neighborhood in the last couple of months. Ali helped organize a rally Thursday after Chanda’s funeral in Parkchester, where Chanda’s wife and daughter now live.

Police have placed notices inside the building where Chanda was killed, on 190th Street. (JASMEET SIDHU/The Bronx Ink)

Police have released a video of the two suspects, described as male and black, between the ages of 20 and 25, and approximately six-feet tall apiece. Notices of the attack have also gone up in the apartment building, including one written by residents demanding the landlord install cameras and fix the broken locks on the front door.

Chanda’s death is one of three homicides that occurred within one week in the 52nd precinct, which encompasses Kingsbridge, Bedford Park and Norwood.

A 35-year-old man was stabbed to death in the lobby of an apartment building on Grand Avenue near Fordham Road on Tuesday morning. Police have yet to identify the victim, or any suspects in the case.

On Saturday morning at around 4 a.m., a 21-year-old man was shot in front of an apartment building on 2843 Bainbridge Avenue, near 198th Street, a few blocks from where he lived on the Grand Concourse. Detectives on the scene said that the man had been in an argument with several other men when the shots were fired. The victim, Edwin Valdez, who was shot in the chest, was still able to walk to 198th Street where he was able to receive help. He later died at Saint Barnabas Hospital.

Bainbridge Avenue was cordoned off by police between 198th Street and 199th Street all morning, including a portion right in front of the Academy of Mount St. Ursula High School. Police have not identified any suspects.

The early morning killing convinced some longtime residents in the Bedford Park neighborhood that it was time to leave.

“I’m moving upstate,” said Linda Matos, a mother of four, who heard the gunshots that morning from her apartment two buildings down.

“The Bronx is disgusting. You’re so used to it. For my children, I say to God every day, please protect them.

Police have released video footage of the suspects sought in Chanda’s killing.

Posted in Crime, Featured, North Central BronxComments (0)

Mysteries remain in the wake of a college student’s death

In early September, 25-year-old Bronx native Kennedy Brown enrolled as a liberal arts freshman at the College of New Rochelle in Westchester. Three weeks later, the father of 6-year-old twins was offered a part-time job at the retail-clothing store Hollister.

Three days later, in the early hours of Sept. 24, Brown was shot dead, just steps away from his childhood home in Bedford Park.

At the time, family and friends of Brown said they were shocked and could find no explanation for Brown’s shooting, which took place outside an apartment building on Decatur Avenue just off of 197th Street.

Now, more than a month after the shooting, the police have offered neither leads nor suspects. Brown’s family is left with questions as they continue to mourn a man described as a focused, charismatic, and dedicated father.

“Who would want to hurt my nephew?” asked Hope Harris, Brown’s aunt, in an interview near the one-month anniversary of his death. “I don’t understand why he had to die—and die violently. He was a father, he was somebody’s son, cousin. I cry everyday.”

The moments leading up to Brown’s shooting outside an apartment building during a party are still cloaked in mystery. What Brown’s family do know is that just before 2 a.m. on Sept. 24, Brown stepped outside the party alone, readying himself to leave. A few minutes later, he was discovered with a gun wound to his head, and was later pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital.

“He was actually leaving the party,” said Harris.“The way it happened, I think, it was someone close to him. It wasn’t gang violence. We figured it had to be over a girl. Kennedy had over 10 different girlfriends.”

In interviews with several family and friends, Brown’s reputation as a gregarious flirt was well-known. It contrasted with the serious life he led as a student and father to his twins, Kennedy, a girl, and Kron, a boy. A couple of months ago, he had taken the twins’ mother to court to sue for equal visitation rights, said the family.

“He was a person that would do anything to make you smile,” remembered Jazmin Lucas, 18, Brown’s next-door neighbor. “He was very genuine and sincere. I was shocked at what happened.”

Lucas said she remembered sitting on the front porch of her house that fateful morning, when she saw Brown’s mother, Candy, return home from the hospital at 3 a.m.
“She had blood on her hands, and she was saying, ‘This was my baby’s blood. I’m never washing it off,’” recalled Lucas.

Brown’s mother is still too traumatized to speak about the passing of her only son. Brown’s cremated ashes are kept in the second-floor townhouse they shared together in Tremont, said family members.

“She’s not doing good at all,” stated Harris. “We are still taking turns to staying in the apartment. She just can’t believe he’s gone, even now. This was the first homicide in our family.”

Harris believes the family will soon learn to heal after Brown’s passing, but the questions around how Brown died will continue to haunt them.

“It’s hard on the family, because we have no answers,” Harris said.

Kennedy Brown died of a gunshot wound in September. (PHOTO CREDIT: Shykeiya Harris)

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, North Central BronxComments (0)

Two Bronx Men Arrested For Pushing Heroin Near School, Daily News

Two Bronx men were arrested for selling heroin out of a drinks distributionship near two Long Island schools, New York Daily News reports.

Jason Cruz, 21, and Jeffrey Marmolejos, 22, were arrested on Tuesday after a month long undercover operation by Nassau and Suffolk County police.

They discovered the gang selling drugs from Wantagh Beverage, a distributionship near Wantagh Middle School and Wantagh High School in Long Island.

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Gunmen Tie Up Family In Their Own Home, Wpix

Three men broke into a family home in Morris Heights on Sunday afternoon, tied up a father and his two children in a back room and robbed them of their valuables, Wpix reports.

The three Hispanic males forced their way into the apartment at 1705 Andrews Avenue at 2pm on Sunday. The man who lives there sustained minor injuries as he tried to stop the thieves from entering.

Once inside, the suspects brandished a gun as they tied up the victims and robbed the house of cash, jewelery and cellphones, police said.

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Neighbors rally to fight increased gun violence in Morris Heights

Neighbors look on as Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson speaks about crime in Morris Heights. (DIANE JEANTET/The Bronx Ink)

Sandra Cuevas has already started looking for a new apartment — anywhere but Morris Heights, where her 20-year-old son was shot and killed 12 days ago.

The circumstances surrounding the death of her son, John Vasquez, are still unclear, but the shooting was the impetus for a “Community in Crisis” rally Wednesday night. About 100 neighbors gathered at a playground on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx for a candlelight vigil to protest the rising rate of violent crime in the area and pray for the people they have lost.

“No one should have to live like this,” said Cuevas, 47. Her eyes were red and puffy from tears as she talked about her son. “I don’t want to live here anymore,” she said. “It’s too dangerous.”

According to the latest crime statistics from the 46th Precinct, which encompasses Morris Heights, there have been 15 murders so far in 2011, compared to nine at this point last year – a 66 percent increase. The number is up 7.1 percent since 2001.

Many shootings go unreported, said Jackie Mercer, 57, Vasquez’s paternal grandmother. Mercer has lived here for 21 years and said she’s steadily watched the violence increase. She’s also planning to move.

Vasquez was discovered shot in the torso at the intersection of Sedgwick and Cedar avenues at 2:21 a.m. on Sept. 24. A 56-year-old man had been shot in the arm and was transferred to Lincoln Hospital. The case is still under investigation.

Cuevas and Mercer said they’ve heard multiple stories about the altercation, but are adamant that Vasquez was not involved in drugs or gangs.

“It was an act of pure stupidity,” Mercer said. “He was a good kid, but he wasn’t a punk. He’d fight you, but he’d use his hands. Not like these other people.”

Cathy Stroud, executive director for River Watch Inc., a community outreach nonprofit, organized the Wednesday night rally and said the anger over the rising violence is justified.

“It’s almost like you are being held captive in your own home,” said Stroud, who has lived on Sedgwick Avenue for 39 years and is known in the neighborhood as Miss Cathy. “The seniors especially might as well have gates on their doors because they’re afraid to come out of their houses. They’re prisoners. And yes, it hurts.”

Stroud said she was disappointed at the event’s turnout. She’d hoped for hundreds more. Still, the ones that showed up were active, chanting “stop the violence, increase the peace,” over and over with Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson, who emceed the rally from a podium at the center of a circled-up crowd.

Gibson, who lives in the area, said young people need “something better to do” than be on the streets late at night.

“There’s nothing positive in this community at 2 or3 a.m.,” she said. “Give them the education, give them the resources and tools they need to make better decisions.”

Posted in Crime, Featured, Northwest BronxComments (0)

Bronx father gunned down for gold chain

Christian de la Santos was described by neighbors as "an honorable man".

A Bronx father of two was gunned down a block from his house at 11 p.m. last night, in what police said was an attempted robbery.

Christian de la Santos, 34, who worked in a downtown hotel, was leaving Penelope Grocery at 1803 Mansion Street, when he was shot four times in the back, leg and head. Residents said they heard multiple gunshots ring out in the deserted streets.

By the time police arrived, de la Santos, who lived on Commonwealth Avenue with his wife and two daughters, was dead.

De la Santos’ brother in law said he was robbed of his expensive gold chain. They have no suspects yet. “It all comes back to the chain,” said Andre Roig, de la Santos’ brother in law.

Penelope Grocery owner Rensy Talvis, 40, said de la Santos had been watching television and drinking beer with four other friends at the store for much of the night.

After kicking the group out just before closing at 11 p.m., Talvis said he heard multiple gunshots outside.

“For the first few seconds I tried to hide,” Talvis said. “Then I walked outside and saw him laying there on the sidewalk.”

Talvis said de la Santos was a regular at the store and would come in to buy beer a few times a week.

“I was shocked, because that was our guy,” said Talvis. “He was always in here.”

The shooting shocked residents in what many feel to be a safe neighborhood. But store owner Talvis said he’s not going to let the incident scare him.

“I’m going to take all the precautions I normally do,” he said.

Posted in Bronx Beats, Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, Southern BronxComments (0)

Failed Bus Company Still Running After Bronx Bus Crash, New York Times

A bus company that was shut down by the federal motoring association after allowing its drivers to violate hours of service is still carrying passengers under a new name, The New York Times reports.

World Wide Travel was shut in June after a fatal bus crash on the I-95 in the Bronx on March 12 in which 15 people were killed.

The owner of World Wide Travel, Michael Schub, continues to run bus operations through two other companies from the same address in Brooklyn.

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Parkchester Mugger Arrested, WSJ

Police have arrested 20-year-old Cameron Roebuck in connection with the brutal attack and mugging of an 81-year-old Parkchester senior, the WSJ reports.

Police said his capture was expediated by suveillance camera footage, which showed Roebuck pushing 81-year-old Jose Rodriguez into the lobby of his apartment last Thursday (Sept. 28).

Roebuck escaped with $30 and some jewellery after giving the senior a nasty beating.

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