The first shooting occurred on Friday, October 21, at 1:15 p.m., when a 26-year-old bman was shot in the left thigh in front of 8-07 Astoria Boulevard. The victim was in a verbal altercation with the suspect, who then fired his weapon several times.
The suspect was identified by police as 33-year-old Saul Chavez, who is 5'3” and 125 pounds.
On Saturday, October 22, at 9:30 p.m., a 16-year-old black female was shot in front of 2-10 27th Avenue at the Astoria Houses complex. On Monday the 24th, again in front of 3-04 27th Avenue, at about 7:48 p.m., a 26-year-old male was shot by a black male suspect. No arrests have been made in either of the incidents at that location.
At the PSA 9 meeting on Wednesday, October 26, inside the Ravenswood Community Center at 35-40 21st Street in Long Island City, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said much of the recent gun violence in Queens is coming from juvenile shooters.
“Somehow or another we have got to find away to stop the kids from using guns,” Brown said.
He added that gun violence needs to be addressed at a national level, with the federal government making it more difficult to purchase and transport guns across state lines.
He said the city's gun buyback program, which allows people to submit guns at churches for a $100 reward, is “very successful,” with more than 2,000 guns taken off Queens streets so far.
Although budget cuts limit the manpower needed to support buyback programs, officers at the meeting said residents can call ahead to precincts and then surrender the weapons to police with no questions asked.
As for reporting crime to police, Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Jessie Sligh suggested going to a payphone or calling from a cell phone, which the switchboard could not trace back to an address even if it does obtain the dialing phone number, to maintain anonymity.
Sligh also recommended getting to know community affairs officers at community meetings.
“They're not going to be tracking your phone call,” when a crime is reported to them, he said.
When members of the audience expressed distrust in their local police officers, Sligh said “there are bad ADA's, there are bad police officers, there are bad neighbors that you live next door to.”
He said the people to rely on are those who attend community meetings.
“Let's use everyone to get what we need to solve the problem,” he said, “and the problem is that you've got some guns in your communuty, you've got some violence in your community.”
At the 114th Precinct Community Council meeting at Riccardo's by the Bridge in Astoria, Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi warned residents to be careful during the holiday shopping season.
He advised against storing expensive purchases in cars before continuing shopping because thieves wait in parking lots. The precinct is stepping up law enforcement along Northern Boulevard to protect shoppers.
“When you go shopping, you go into the stores, you buy some stuff, you go back to the car and put it in the trunk," he said. "People are watching, people are seeing what you're putting in there. Don't leave valuables
Cirabisi also recommended shopping in groups, walking in well-lit areas on the street, and keeping phones hidden to prevent them from being targeted for theft.
As for the shootings near Astoria Houses, police ask that anyone with information about the incidents call 800-577-TIPS. Tipsters can visit NYPDcrimestoppers.com or text TIP577 to 274637 (CRIMES).