‘It needs to stop’: Community leaders call for an end to gun violence after Astoria shooting injures four

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

A 21-year-old is in critical condition after being caught in a spray of bullets that also hit three other young men in Astoria on Tuesday afternoon.

On Aug. 18, around 4:15 p.m., an unidentified man drove a blue Jeep to the rear of a Ravenswood Public Housing building located at 35-35 21st St., and began to shoot, according to the NYPD.

Police arrived to the scene to find a 17-year-old boy and 18-year-old man each with a gunshot wound to their backs, a 19-year-old man with a gunshot would to his left leg and a 21-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his head, cops said.

The shooting suspect was last seen fleeing in the vehicle westbound on 36th Avenue, according to the police.

All four victims were taken to Elmhurst Hospital. The 17-, 18-, and 19-year-old were in stable condition when taken to the hospital. The 21-year-old is currently in critical condition, according to the authorities.

“It was utter chaos,” said Gisela Rodriguez, who lives near the scene of the shooting. “It’s not uncommon at all and it needs to stop.”

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

There has been a massive increase in shooting incidents this summer. In the past 28 days, there have been 40 shooting victims in Queens, according to the NYPD’s crime tracking system CompStat. There were 12 shooting victims in the same 28 day stretch in 2019.

Following Tuesday’s shooting in the Ravenswood housing complex, community leaders gathered to call for an end to the violence. A large pool of blood remained at the scene of the crime, still uncleaned after police left, while the local leaders called for peace. A nearby sitting area was still surrounded by yellow tape, evidence of the carnage the day before.

“Some are speculating that this is a gang-related incident fueled by an ongoing rivalry between residents of Ravenswood Houses and Queensbridge Houses. Whatever it is, it needs to stop,” said Tony Herbert, a community advocate who was recently appointed the founding chapter president of Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s citywide public housing chapter. “The good residents of Ravenswood deserve to live in an atmosphere free of bullets flying.”

Carol Wilkins, president of the Ravenswood Tenant Association, took a moment from her volunteer work with a local food pantry to decry the continued violence.

“These kids are from our community and its happening in the middle of this pandemic going on,” Wilkins said. “This gun violence has got to stop. We can’t live like this because first we are quarantined in our homes from COVID-19 and now we have to quarantine because we are afraid of getting shot. This is not the wild west, we shouldn’t have to be going around with vests on and dodging bullets.”

Additional reporting by Lloyd Mitchell and Todd Maisel. 

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