Tag Archive | "Guns"

Bronx gun bust shocks neighborhood

3081 Villa Avenue, in Bedford Park, where police uncovered a sizable weapon cache. Photo by Alex Eriksen

By Alex Eriksen

The news earlier this week that federal agents discovered a sizeable arsenal of guns in a Bronx apartment surprised and alarmed neighbors in a community that includes a day care center.

“I’m in shock, I had no idea,” said Jenny Nunez, 21. Nunez works at Adi’s Group Family Day Care, directly across the street from the raided apartment on Villa Ave in Norwood. “It’s usually pretty quiet.” Just behind her building is the St. Phillip Neri School and church.

Police and Federal Agents raided an apartment at 3081 Villa Ave in Bedford Park on Thursday expecting to find drugs.

They found some small amounts of cocaine and marijuana, some scales and various paraphernalia, but the big discovery was waiting for police in the bedroom, packed in four suitcases.

Inside, an arsenal of weapons: five assault rifles, several handguns, m80 explosives with blasting caps, and a trove of ammunition. Police recovered a bulletproof vest and a pair of night vision goggles as well.

Police arrested the tenant, Victor Miri, 29, along with his older brother, Tonin Miri, 30. The two men have been charged with drug and weapon possession.

Nunez’s mother, Abia, 44, has run the day care next door for nine years. “It used to be a good neighborhood, right now I’m not sure,” said Nunez.

The neighborhood sits east of the Grand Concourse, near Lehman College. You can see it from the No. 4 train at the Bedford Park stop, the Roman-gothic buildings, the baseball field.

Villa Ave is just a block from the station, surrounded by small businesses: a nail salon, a diner, two different bakeries with the same owner.

On the corner of Villa Avenue, at Madden’s Pub, other neighbors were talking about the bust. Diana Ortiz, 52, the bartender, passed around a clipping from the New York Post. “It’s a scary thing,” Ortiz said. Overall though, she said, the area is relatively safe. “During the summer it was kind of rough, people in a new building were causing trouble, but that’s quieted down,” says Ortiz.

Donald Anderson, 77, sat at the end of the bar. He said he has lived in the Bronx his entire life and he remembers a very different neighborhood. He was seven when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and he recalled collecting metal in the neighborhood for the war effort.

“A different world,’’ he said.

Across the street at Mi Casa Bakery and coffee shop, Michael Velasquez, 21, works behind the counter. “It can be pretty ugly,” admits Velasquez, “we’ve been robbed, there are shootings sometimes, but mostly it’s quiet.”

Michael Mandell, 78, a longtime resident sat at another table. “You don’t really know what’s going on,” Mandell said, “until it happens.”

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Former FeaturedComments (0)

Proposed Law Would Criminalize Drunken Gun-Toting

Article by Astrid Baez, Video by Shreeya Sinha

In a press conference today in the Bronx, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Sen. Jeffrey D. Klein announced the introduction of a law that would forbid New Yorkers from carrying a gun while intoxicated.

“If you’re too intoxicated to drive a car, you are obviously too intoxicated to be carrying a gun,” Bloomberg said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein proposed ban on “Carrying While Intoxicated”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein proposed ban on “Carrying While Intoxicated”

Hailing the law as “life saving” and “common sense,” Bloomberg called on legislators and Gov. David Paterson to support the initiative, stating that New York is hardly the first state to enact this law. If passed, the law would make New York the 21st state to prohibit carrying a gun while intoxicated, citing it as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a $10,000 fine. According to the mayor, the law would apply the same standards and tests that are currently in place to prevent and punish drunken driving.

Bloomberg and Klein denounced the mix of guns and alcohol as deadly. “The time is now for us to get serious about penalties for those who choose to carry a gun while intoxicated,” Klein said.

The announcement comes a little over a week after the mayor touted the success of the guns-for-cash program in the Bronx. Gloria Cruz, the Bronx chapter leader of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, praised the mayor’s announcement, calling it a step in the right direction. Cruz, whose 10-year-old niece was killed in 2005, left her job in corporate America and devoted her time to getting guns off the streets.

Some Bronx residents agree. Tony, a car-washer at Hand Wash in Bronxdale who refused to give his last name, shares Cruz’s sentiment, stating that anything that can be done to restrict the use of guns was good for the Bronx. “It’s logical,” he said of the mayor’s plan. “You can’t drive drunk, you shouldn’t be carrying a firearm when drunk either.”

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, opposes the plan, saying that New York State has enough gun-control laws. “Legislators should worry about enforcing laws that are already in the books,” he said. King described the mayor’s crusade as cracking down on legal and lawful gun owners, rather than cracking down on gun violence. “This is just another move on the mayor’s part to get his name in the papers,” King said.

Officials assured New Yorkers that the bill would not be in violation of their Second Amendment rights. Instead, these rights would now come with greater responsibilities. “This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment and everything to do with public safety,” said John Feinblatt, the mayor’s criminal justice coordinator. “This is a way to prevent accidents from happening that can’t be taken back, or a death that should’ve never happened.”

When it comes to guns, Bloomberg’s message is simple, if you’re going to drink, don’t leave home with it.

Posted in East Bronx, PoliticsComments (0)