By Connor Adams Sheets
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) are hoping to help make the Pomonok Houses a little safer.
The legislators hosted a public safety town hall to discuss the concerns of the Fresh Meadows housing complex’s residents, who have been alarmed about security there since a Pomonok resident was murdered during a double shooting while sitting in a car in front of her building July 2.
A neighborhood watch program and the infusion of new funding for video cameras were proposed during the meeting of more than 60 of the complex’s residents at the Pomonok Community Center, at 67-09 Kissena Blvd., as methods to deter violence and crime.
“The Pomonok community has been shaken to its core by the terrible violence of July 2, and we came together to see what could be done to prevent such an occurrence in the future. The people of Pomonok have pledged to become the eyes of law enforcement — to protect their community by communicating anything they see of a suspicious nature to the police,” Gennaro said. “As Pomonok’s representative on the City Council, I have pledged $750,000 to deploy electronic ‘eyes’ — surveillance cameras — throughout the complex.”
The July 20 meeting came on the heels of a drug sweep at the housing complex earlier that week that yielded 12 arrests on drug charges after a four-month investigation, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
One of the suspects arrested that day was Marc Coleman, 22, who lost his mother, nurse Christina Coleman, 39, in the July 2 shooting and whose brother Hassan Gil, 18, was shot in the chest but survived the attack. Marc Coleman was arrested on charges of attempted murder and menacing for allegedly firing a handgun at another man at about 11:10 p.m. June 30 near 67-33 Kissena Blvd., the DA said. Police believe the shooting may have precipitated the retaliatory shooting of Marc Coleman’s family members in a case of mistaken identity.
Gennaro made a commitment to provide $750,000 in city funding to install security cameras at Pomonok, which matches an amount secured for the same purpose earlier this year by Stavisky and former Flushing state Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn.
“There has been an alarming number of shootings at Pomonok in recent weeks, and this violence must stop. Surveillance cameras serve not only as a deterrent but also as a prosecutorial tool,” Stavisky said. “If we had cameras in this housing complex, the perpetrators could have been caught on camera, and their photos promptly distributed to law enforcement, the community and the media.”
Earlier this month, police arrested two suspects in the shootings of Christina Coleman and Gil.
Lerome Robinson, 21, was arrested July 6 in Albany following the capture of 20-year-old Malik Wallace July 3. The two Pomonok Houses residents were charged with murder, attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the double shooting of the nurse and her son, according to the DA. The suspects each face up to 50 years in prison if convicted of the crimes, the DA said.
Both suspects were arraigned and ordered held without bail, according to the DA. They are due to return to court Aug. 9, according to court records.
Monica Corbett, president of the Pomonok Houses Residents Association, thanked the lawmakers for their efforts.
“The cosmetic of our development is changing in an extremely negative way,” Corbett said. “It would be helpful for the residents of Pomonok to go back to the business of being a united community, get involved and help Pomonok to once again be the ‘jewel’ of the authority.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.