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Bronx Cell Phone Bandit Targets Young Women

Police are searching for a suspect accused of stealing from seven women in a string of robberies over the past three weeks in the Bedford section of the Bronx, ABC-7 New York News reports.

In each incident, the suspect followed the women — mostly between the ages of 16 and 27 — into their apartment building, police said. The suspect then grabbed the women from behind and stole their cell phones or purses before running away. Police caught the suspect on surveillance footage ABC-7 posted here.

Anyone with information on the suspect or crimes should call Crime Stoppers at 1(800)577-8477.


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Teen Pleads Not Guilty in Bronx 4-year-old’s Death

The teen accused of firing the shot that killed a 4-year-old boy caught in a gun battle on a Morrisania basketball court in late July pleaded not guilty Monday morning to murder charges in Bronx Criminal Court.

Rondell Pinkerton, 17, is one of four suspects indicted on charges related to the death of Lloyd Morgan. The child was in the playground area around 9:30 p.m. on July 22 when he was struck in the head by a stray bullet from a gunfight that broke out during a charity basketball tournament at the Forest Houses project.

Quiet tension filled the Bronx Criminal Court courtroom at Monday’s arraignment. Additional officers arrived to keep the calm between a few of Pinkerton’s family members and about a dozen family and friends of Shianne Norman, the young victim’s mother. A woman sitting beside Norman wore a “Stop the violence” T-shirt, and Rachel Noerdlinger, who represents Rev. Al Sharpton, tried to help comfort the shaken mother.

Norman said she is not sure what justice for Lloyd means to her, but she felt it was important for her to show up at court in honor of her son.

Shianne Norman, left, mother of a 4-year-old killed by a stray bullet, had the support of about a dozen family and friends Monday in Bronx Criminal Court. (JIKA GONZALEZ / The Bronx Ink)

“I’ve never been to court. This is not a part of my life. This is surreal to me,” said Norman, weeping quietly. She has begun looking into counseling to cope with her grief. ”I should not be here.”

Clad in an orange jumpsuit, Pinkerton, who goes by “Spyder,” entered his not-guilty plea in a soft-spoken voice and mostly looked down or at his attorney during his brief appearance. If convicted on murder, assault and weapons charges, the 17-year-old faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

“He’s supposed to be getting his high school diploma, and where is he now? He’s in jail,” Marie Williams, Lloyd’s grandmother, said outside the courthouse. “I have to think of my grandson every day he doesn’t come through that door. He’s supposed to be starting school with his sister … Where is he?”

The bullet that struck the child came from Pinkerton’s gun, but the suspect told authorities he was only firing in self-defense. Police have said at least 13 rounds were fired across the basketball court during the “Ghetto Angels” tournament dedicated to a teen girl who was stabbed to death one year ago.

“The amount of gun shots that I heard that night — it was ridiculous. I felt like I was in a war zone,” Norman said. “It doesn’t matter that you might have not hit my son. You endangered others.”

Three others were arrested in the fatal shooting: Courtney Kelly, 26, who was injured in the gunfight and faces weapons charges; Ronald Jeffrey, 19, facing murder and weapons charges; and Raymond James, 16, facing weapons and reckless endangerment charges, according to Bronx District Attorney’s office spokesman Melvin Hernandez. Jeffrey’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday and Kelly’s is on Sept. 26.

Pinkerton is set to return to court Oct. 22.

Anthony Ventura, Pinkerton’s attorney, did not return three calls for comment Monday afternoon. Pinkerton’s family members declined to comment outside the courthouse.

Lloyd was one of several young children caught in the crossfire of New York gunfights in recent months. A 3-year-old boy was shot in the leg near the Roosevelt Houses in Brooklyn on July 8.  Five days after Lloyd’s death, a 14-year-old was shot dead after playing tennis in the Eastchester section of the Bronx. On Aug. 24, a 13-year-old died after he was shot in the back in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. And a two-month-old boy in a stroller was grazed by a stray bullet in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx on Wednesday.

“The community has not woken up,” Williams said. “There’s going to be another little kid younger than my grandson. Watch.”


Posted in Bronx Beats, Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, Featured, Southern Bronx0 Comments

Morrisania Mourns Robbery Victim Shot by Police

Clergy works to calm activists as anti-NYPD feelings rage

Rain began falling Saturday night just as Rev. Ruben Austria led a passionate prayer for justice and healing in the aftermath of a botched robbery that left a 20-year-old bodega worker dead from police gunfire.

Huddled in a tight circle at 169th Street and Franklin Avenue, roughly 50 mourners — family members, friends and community activists — turned out Saturday night in honor of Reynaldo Cuevas, the young father from the Dominican Republic accidentally shot by police during a robbery scuffle early Friday morning.

“We want to stand in solidarity with the family and pray that our outrage doesn’t lead to in-rage. That it doesn’t cause us to consume ourselves and tear one each other down,” Austria told the group, with he and fellow clergy starting a chorus of “Hallelujah.”

Rally participants gathered around a makeshift memorial draped with flowers, rosaries and hand-scribbled notes across from Aneurys Daily Grocery in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. Cuevas worked six nights a week at the store, often staying for 16-hour shifts.

Community activists joined cousins of Reynaldo Cuevas in a prayer vigil Saturday night. “We want to stand in solidarity with the family and pray that our outrage doesn’t lead to in-rage,” Rev. Ruben Austria said. (ADAM PEREZ / The Bronx Ink)

The memorial included a few dollar bills, some cigarette butts and a lottery ticket — the type of loot the armed robbers tried to make off with in a backpack before police arrived.

Around 1:50 a.m. Friday, Cuevas, in an “understandable panic to get away from the gunman as fast as possible,” ran outside the bodega to escape the masked robbers and collided with a police officer, according to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and the officer accidentally fired his weapon, striking Cuevas in his left shoulder. He died at St. Barnabas Hospital.

“I want to extend my condolences to the Cuevas family for their loss,” Kelly said in a statement Friday. Kelly emphasized the events had transpired in “split seconds.”

Some came to the Saturday night rally simply to mourn the loss of Cuevas, described by relatives as a kind-hearted young man who’d been saving to send money to his 3-year-old daughter, Jamie, in the Dominican Republic.

“He was hard-working and humorous and caring,” said Ashley Rodriguez, 14, a cousin of Cuevas. She said she last saw Cuevas two days before his death, when he helped her get through some issues she was facing with high school. Cuevas was a good listener, she said, and he urged her to stay focused on her studies.

Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, worked nights at the bodega, saving money for his 3-year-old daughter, Jamie, in the Dominican Republic.

“How many parents got to bury their kids? When is this really going to stop?” said Juanita Young, an activist with Families of Stolen Lives and Parents Against Police Brutality. “I am so angry at what just happened here — that young man just trying to make a life for him and his family … When is enough enough?”

The candlelit vigil, announced via a cardboard sign at the memorial site and on a Facebook page for Cuevas created Saturday, also drew activists from the New York Civil Liberties Union and Stop “Stop and Frisk” Freedom Fighters, who oppose the NYPD’s controversial tactic of searching people on the streets over concerns police disproportionately target people of color.

“People are out here not just for this incident, but because I think what everybody feels and knows and understands is there’s been years of police harassing and targeting young black and Latino men,” Austria said.

Ashley Rodriguez said she’s not sure her cousin’s death represents a bigger problem; she just wants to see an investigation into the officer who shot him. For now, she wants that officer suspended.

“It’s uplifting to know that even people that didn’t know him are supporting us because they know this wasn’t right,” said Mary Rodriguez, 24, another cousin of Cuevas who was wearing an anti-“Stop and Frisk” button.

A downpour dispersed the crowd on Saturday, with some activists announcing plans to reschedule a march for Wednesday, and to attend a funeral for Cuevas on Monday.

Saturday’s event was the second emotional vigil honoring Cuevas this weekend. On Friday night, after the news vans and most reporters had left, the crowd erupted into angry shouting at the police, who stood quietly across the street. Austria was there, too, working to calm the small crowd for several hours and prevent the scene from escalating into a violent confrontation with the officers.

“The police have to be held accountable when they use excessive force, but we have to hold ourselves accountable. The community’s got to hold each other accountable because the violence between us is unacceptable just as well,” Austria said. “Nobody gets a pass for doing wrong.”

Staff writers Sadef Kully, Adam Perez and Jan Hendrik Hinzel contributed to this report.

The makeshift memorial included a few dollars, cigarette butts and used lottery tickets–booty found on the suspects after their arrest, said police. (ADAM PEREZ / The Bronx Ink)

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, Featured, Multimedia, Slideshows, Southern Bronx0 Comments

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