The shooting of a 21-year-old man in the parking lot of a Wendy’s in Jamaica is further proof that southeast Queens is not winning the war on gun violence. Many parents take their children to that restaurant. Their children could just have easily been hit by a stray bullet.
Prosecutors have charged Damian Rampersad, a 21-year-old member of the Latin Kings, with firing on three suspected members of MS-13. This gang, which originally came from Central America, is more violent than the Kings.
Standing in front of the Wendy’s on Jamaica Avenue, District Attorney Richard Brown said, “Like in so many different boroughs, we do have a gang problem here. It’s something that the police are very much on top of.”
Less organized gangs from small neighborhoods have emerged as players in some recent shootings.
According to the DA’s office, Rampersad is accused of firing five to seven rounds using a semi-automatic pistol. Not only do the gang members of Queens have this dangerous artillery, they are willing to open fire anywhere without regard to the possibility of killing innocent children.
We are waiting for the DA and the police to launch a public offensive against illegal guns in Queens, which would weaken gangs and send a message to fearful residents that the authorities are determined to take back the streets.
Don’t let them turn Jamaica Avenue into a street from the Wild West.
Weapon in War on Crime
The news isn’t all bad. Using facial-recognition technology, police identified and hunted down the suspect in a vicious shooting inside a Ridgewood barbershop.
Police allege Jordan Rodriguez entered the barbershop with a sawed-off shotgun, confronted his victim sitting in a barber chair and shot him point blank in the head.
The victim’s brother, who was in the barbershop at the time of the shooting, told the police he didn’t know the shooter’s name, but added he might have a picture of the shooter on Facebook.
Queens detectives took the photo to the Real Time Crime Center at police headquarters, where they used the new facial-recognition technology to match the face with thousands of mug shots.
That’s a step in the right direction.