When José’s son noticed a cup of juice sitting on the hood of his car near West 225th Street and Broadway one night in August, he had no idea that removing it would land him in the hospital.
“He comes downstairs and knocks the drink off his car and then about 20 guys came from across the street and were asking him why he knocked over their drink,” said José, who did not want his full name, or his son’s name printed, for fear of retribution.
José said his son and the men from across the street argued for about half an hour before a fight broke out. Some of the men grabbed his son and held him down and he was soon on his way to a hospital with a broken leg and other injuries.
The incident is indicative of a wave of violence in the Marble Hill area during the last two months that have police flummoxed and residents wary.
José and his son did not report the attack to police for the same reason he asked for their names not to be printed, but he was among a dozen or so concerned residents who voiced concern at meetings held by the 50th Precinct Community Council and Community Board 8’s Public Safety Committee meeting over the last six weeks.
Crime in police Sector Eddy, which runs from West 225th to West 231st streets between Bailey and Johnson avenues and was one of two local sectors to receive additional beat cops this year — is only nominally worse than it was last year from January to mid-October.
As of Oct. 18, there had been 131major crimes in the sector compared to 128 over the same period last year.
But two shootings, several robbery assaults, fights and an alleged gang rape — all since mid-August — have offset what would otherwise register as relatively stable crime numbers.
A man was shot three times as he walked away from the Marble Hill Houses on Aug. 21.
Police said the victim reported being shot around 1:05 a.m. that Sunday, in front of 5408 Broadway.
An unidentified man followed the victim as he was leaving the Marble Hill Houses, police said. The victim, realizing he was being followed, fled down Broadway and heard three or four shots behind him.
He was struck three times; one shot grazed his head, the other two hit his back and right torso.
A Marble Hill resident, who preferred not to be named, said the victim used to live in the area and returned for the Marble Hill Family and Children’s Day, held on Aug. 20.
Another incident, on Sept. 25, ended with a man in cuffs and two men injured, one with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Police said the shooting was in retaliation for an earlier incident in which two women, one who is a friend of the shooters, got into a pushing match.
The victims told police the victims were approached by two suspects near the barbershop at 115 W. 225th St. Police said the four men began arguing and one of the suspects bumped into one of the victims and then threw an empty milk crate at him in an attempt to elevate the confrontation. Refusing to take the bait, police said the victim began to leave rather than fight.
That’s when police said one of the suspects pulled out a gun and fired, shooting the man on the right side of his upper chest. The other victim was struck with a pistol on the back of the head, according to police.
Capt. Kevin Burke, commander of the 50th Precinct, said Yonkers resident Laurence Sanchez, 22, was arrested and charged with first-degree assault. Eyewitnesses helped police identify Mr. Sanchez as one of the suspects, Capt. Burke said.
Police said Mr. Sanchez has three prior arrests.
Capt. Burke said police have been focused on addressing violence in the area.
“There’s definitely issues in Marble Hill and they get a lot of attention. They get a significant portion of our resources, and yeah, they have issues. It becomes a challenge from a law enforcement issue,” Capt. Burke said in an Oct. 14 interview.
“Drug dealers, who at times are sophisticated criminals, are using lookouts and other means to evade police and intimidate people. It can be tricky,” Capt. Burke said.