By Bill Parry
A $2,000 reward for information about the shooting death of 23-year-old Jahhad Marshall early Saturday morning at the Queenbridge Houses has been announced by the 114th Precinct in Astoria. The aspiring chef, and resident of 1st Street in the Astoria Houses, was caught in a crossfire created by multiple gunmen, according to sources, in a back courtyard at 40-16 12th St.
The incident led to calls for the return of stop-and-frisk by a relative of the victim and a former police commissioner.
Marshall was pronounced dead at Cornell Medical Center and two others who were wounded by the gunfire are recovering, according to the NYPD. Three other people were shot and killed in the Bronx and Brooklyn,all during a five-hour period last Saturday.
Marshall, known as “McSpiffy” on the street, will be laid to rest Saturday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church, located at 100-10 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst. He had been visiting friends at the Queensbridge Houses where he had lived with his mother until recently, according to a source.
“Somebody has to put their foot down,” Marshall’s uncle, Stacey Calhoun, told the New York Post. “A lot of people would agree with stop-and-frisk if it’s for the safety among us. They used to fight with their hands. It seems like all these kids have guns these days.”
Former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik took to the airwaves on Fox News and said, ”You can’t take away the programs that were successful, and that’s what this mayor has done, consistently. From staff’s perspective, it’s a great tool. It’s something they needed to go out and look for guns. It’s something they needed to reduce crime.”
The NYPD says there have been 439 shootings so far this year through May 31, a 20 percent increase over the same time period in 2013. There have been 66 shootings in Queens.
“We are now at a lower level of overall crime than last year, substantially,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Saturday afternoon. “We’ve got more work to do, though, and we’re constantly making adjustments. But I have great faith in the NYPD and in the leadership of the NYPD that we will prevail.”
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed the spike in shootings on “gangs and crew-related activities” and he’s working with the NYPD to adjust strategies. “We know for sure that the increase in both murders and shootings has occurred in a small number of precincts,” de Blasio said. “We can fight it because we have the knowledge of where the problem is, and who the perpetrators are. The NYPD is moving, as we speak, resources and energy toward the problem areas.”
Meanwhile, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) raced to the Queensbridge Houses Saturday morning to meet with investigators at the scene of Marshall’s killing.
“The tragic and senseless violence that occurred in Queensbridge saddens us all,” he said. “A young man has died and two others are in the hospital. This shooting happened in Queensbridge, but it does not define Queensbridge and the amazing people who call the community home. We must all commit to getting guns off the streets; increasing educational, cultural and athletic programs that engage all young people; and end inequality in all forms. Making this city safe and peaceful for all is our solemn duty and obligation.”
Meanwhile, NYPD Capt. Peter Fortune, who took over command of the 114th Precinct after leading the Housing Bureau’s Police Service Area 5, which oversees public housing developments in Manhattan, has a plan for Queensbridge.
“In sum and substance, one of the goals this summer will be to work with the community, prominent residents and elected officials to offer services and programs to our youth that gives them alternatives to gangs and violence,” Fortune said.