Shooting in Woodhaven not random: NYPD

By Gabriel Rom

In what police described as a harrowing ordeal, a 39-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman were shot early Saturday morning inside the Rico Chimi hamburger restaurant located at 80-01 Atlantic Ave. in Woodhaven.

As the two victims were waiting for their food at around 12:30 a.m., an unknown suspect wearing a red bandana covering his face walked into the restaurant and took out a gun, police said.

The male victim then tried to take cover behind the female victim, using her as a human shield. The suspect fired five or six times, striking the woman three times and the man twice, the NYPD said.

Both victims, who police said did not know each other, were listed in stable condition at Jamaica Hospital.

Police do not currently have a description of the suspect.

Lt. Estrella of the 102nd Precinct said police were looking for an individual who came from Brooklyn and that the shooting was likely related to gang activity or a personal dispute.

“This was premeditated,” he said at last week’s Woodhaven Residents Block Association meeting. “The suspect went after a specific person.”

Estrella stressed that the risk to residents is minimal.

“This is not something for everyone to worry about.”

Estrella said the precinct has had success in combating gang activity within Woodhaven. There are two active gangs in the area known to police, he said, and both of them have large numbers of members who have recently been incarcerated.

“All my units day and night know who the guys are that are a part of this problem,” he said

As for other petty crime problems, including graffiti and harassment around Jamaica Avenue and the overpass at Atlantic Avenue, Estrella said that the cause is mostly young kids.

“The only way we can prevent that is from the home. The parents have to be more in their children’s lives. It’s the only way to get them off the street, because they get influenced by the wrong kids on the street.”

In an effort to combat crime and target graffiti the 102nd Precinct requested 12 Argus cameras from the city, two of which would be placed along Jamaica and Atlantic Avenues, Woodhaven’s main graffiti locations. The funding for the cameras, however, is not guaranteed.
“They’re cutting budgets everywhere,” Estrella said. “We requested it, we’re just hoping that we get it.”

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.