EAST FLASTBUSH, N.Y. (WPIX)—A fatal shooting late Monday night in Brooklyn added to a recent trend that no police officer wants to see: a spike in the murder rate that reverses a decade-long decline in New York City homicides.
The shooting happened at 11:22 p.m. inside the Wien Far Kitchen on Church Avenue near 48th Street. When the gunfire stopped, one person in the restaurant , a 20 year-old man, was shot in the back, and another 20 year-old man was shot in the leg. Medics took both men to Kings County Hospital, where doctors pronounced the man with the bullet to the back dead. The other man is in stable condition. Neither has been identified by police, who are searching for suspects.
The NYPD is also searching for a way to bring to an end three straight days of bloodshed in the city.
There were four murders on Monday, including the late night shooting in East Flatbush. A woman who witnesses said was the mother of the 20 year-old victim collapsed on the sidewalk when she went to the scene of her son's slaying Tuesday morning. She attempted to talk with PIX 11 News about the murder but was too distraught.
A neighbor voiced the concern that many residents are feeling. "The place is changing," Fredricka Clark told PIX 11 News. "My daughter, I just called and woke her up to tell her what happened and she said, 'We have to move.'"
However, many other neighborhoods across the city are also experiencing a recent rise in homicides. In addition to the murder in East Flatbush Monday night, there was a fatal shooting in Homecrest, Brooklyn and a double murder in the Soundview Houses public housing project in the Bronx.
On Sunday, the city had three murders, one in Flatlands, Brooklyn, another in Coney Island, Brooklyn and one other in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.
On Saturday, a man was shot during a dispute in Queens Village.
Of the eight homicides, there has only been an arrest for one.
Together, they help to bring the total number of murders in New York City this year to just three short of the number of homicides in all of 2009, and at least a fifteen percent rise in the murder rate. Last year, the city had 466 homicides. As of Tuesday morning, there were 463 murders across the five boroughs.
East Harlem, according to NYPD statistics, has seen a 400 percent increase in homicides this year.
To help counter the trend, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has acknowledged that his department can't go it alone. He says that after a group of Brooklyn pastors approached the department offering their help, the NYPD is working through ten churches with strong ties to their communities to meet with gang leaders to try and reduce the number of shootings.
The commissioner says that he is stepping up the NYPD gun buyback program as well. He says that it has removed more than 6,000 guns from neighborhood streets over the last two years.
Police are also carrying out a program to work with grandparents who are primary caregivers for their grandchildren. The program provides greater resources for grandparents to keep their children's children in school and out of gangs.
The city estimates that in the Bronx, 43 percent of grandparents -- 44,000 people -- are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. In Manhattan, it's 38 percent of all grandparents, or approximately 143,000 people.