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‘We cannot live in fear’: Ozone Park civic leader calls for improved security following park shooting that left four injured

Ozone Park
(Photo via Getty Images)

An Ozone Park civic leader is expressing outrage after gunmen opened fire in a neighborhood park wounding four people — including two teenagers — on Tuesday evening, Sept. 27.

The bullets began to fly following an argument between two young men at approximately 6:18 p.m. on Sept. 27 inside of London Plane Tree Skate Park, located off the corner of Atlantic Avenue and 88th Street in Ozone Park, according to authorities. The two pulled out guns and began firing at each other, but four innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire, police said. The gunmen got away in a black Mercedes as panic ensued inside the park.

“We are fed up with the current state of affairs in our community. Anything goes, and it seems to be getting worse over time,” Ozone Park Residents Block Association President Sam Esposito said. “This park was the scene of a very chaotic shooting where families. Women, children, and teenagers were running for their lives. What was once a tranquil neighborhood has now become the OK Corral.”

Esposito added that the shooting was gang-related, but Captain Jeremy R. Kivlin, the commanding officer at the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill, could not confirm that with QNS.

“It’s currently an active investigation, and at this point, we have not identified any perpetrators, but it is currently being investigated by the 102 Detective squad.,” he said. “Any information on whether this was gang-related has not been determined at this time.”

EMS responded to the scene and rushed a 15-year-old girl who was shot in the left leg and a 16-year-old boy who was struck in the lower back. to Long Island Jewish Medical Center where they were listed in stable condition, police said. The other victims were a 20-year-old man shot twice in the right leg and once in the left leg, and a 32-year-old man hit in the left ankle. EMS brought them to Jamaica Hospital, and they are both expected to recover.

Esposito lives a block away from the crime scene.

“I witnessed the chaotic scene where the parents, children, and teens ran past my home, telling us that a shooting was happening. We then saw a black Mercedes being chased by some people on foot, but the car got away; we could not believe what we saw,” Esposito said. “What should have been a lovely day off for the kids while we celebrate the Jewish Holidays became a day of horror that many of these kids will never shake from their memories.”

Esposito is calling for a roundtable discussion with elected officials and community leaders to discuss installing NYPD ARGUS CCTV camera surveillance systems in the neighborhood’s parks.

“It is about public safety, our children’s safety, and, more importantly, our community’s safety,” Esposito said. “We cannot live in fear for our lives, and we certainly do not want to have fear now taking the kids to the parks. These incidents create more panic and anxiety and cause people to feel unsafe and retreat into their homes because of this fear. Enough is enough.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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