By Thomas Tracy
An “increased police presence” is expected for the streets around the Wyckoff Gardens following the shooting death of a 17-year-old in what police are calling a dispute over drugs. “In the end, all of this has to do with drugs,” a police source said about the murder of 17-year-old Jabari Foster of 130 3rd Avenue Saturday, marking another chapter in violent saga unfolding in and around the 3rd Avenue housing project. Investigators are working on the theory that Foster’s death was related to a shooting on December 24, when his girlfriend was shot. That shooting, police believe, was over drugs. Officials said that at 17, Foster had already been arrested for four felony crimes. He had been twice arrested for the sale of a controlled substance as well as been taken into custody on weapon’s possession charges, officials said. Police said that the young father was found inside his apartment building, suffering from a gun shot wound to the chest at 1:30 a.m. on January 14. He was rushed to Long Island College Hospital, where he died of his injuries. As of this writing, cops have yet to identify a suspect in the shooting. In light of this shooting and others that have hung over the Wyckoff Gardens like a dark cloud, cops are planning a multi-prong approach to protect residents in the houses as well as surrounding streets. Officials said that both the 78th Precinct and the neighboring 84th Precinct are donating their resources to the area. Members of the NYPD Housing Bureau, as well as the Brooklyn South Narcotics Unit are also involved. “We’re going to see an increased uniform presence in the area,” a high ranking source said. Police said that earlier this month, on January 3, shots were traded near the corner of St. Marks Place and 3rd Avenue, just outside the housing project. No injuries were reported. Investigators believe that the shooting erupted from an ongoing dispute between two men who either live in or live close to the Wyckoff Gardens. Residents of the Wyckoff Gardens are still reeling from the murder of 33-year-old Nicole Figueroa shot in the neck in the Wyckoff Gardens last July. Figueroa, police said, was seven months pregnant when she died. Doctors scrambled to save her unborn child with an emergency Caesarean section. But little Nicholas Figueroa, who was named after his mother, died a few weeks later. Figueroa’s sister Dana Johnson, who took custody of the baby and gave the child his name, had the sad duty of allowing doctors to give the brain damaged, premature baby his final rest. Cops from the 78th Precinct said that, when arrested, the person who killed Figueroa will be facing two murder charges. “We are investigating a number of leads,” said one police source close to the case adding that cops were still investigating if Figueroa was shot by a stray bullet or during a confrontation, possibly over drugs. As of this writing, no suspects had been identified. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward. Tipsters, they said, could receive up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those responsible. Calls can be made to either NYPD Crimestoppers at (800) 577-TIPS or the 78th Precinct at (718) 636-6411. All calls will be kept confidential.