Two recent violent crimes that took place in Bay Ridge had their origins in Sunset Park, the head of the NYPD’s Brooklyn South detective squad told Ridgeites.
Deputy Inspector Raymond Festino, commanding officer of the Patrol Borough Brooklyn South detective squad, attended the October 19 meeting of the 68th Precinct Community Council to update residents of the area on the two crimes — the murder of a woman in Owl’s Head Park in the early morning hours of Thursday, September 29 and the quadruple shooting that took place on Third Avenue at 73rd Street at around 3 a.m. on Saturday, October 8.
Festino — who had been commanding officer of the 68th Precinct until this spring when he was transferred to PBBS and Captain Joseph Hayward was appointed precinct commander — said that the sequence of events leading up to the blunt trauma murder of Ridgeite Jennifer Cohen, 35, began in the neighboring community, which is part of the 72nd Precinct.
“The perp met the victim in the 72 and walked many blocks into the 68 to Owl’s Head Park,” he told the crowd gathered at the station house, 333 65th Street. “Something happened there. We don’t know what. It’s not something that happened in Bay Ridge. It happened outside and came in.”
Similarly, Festino said, the shooting of four people at a bodega near the Catch 22 Bar, which all the victims had visited, “seems like it came out of Sunset Park. All the victims were Sunset Park residents.
The “two shooters and one stabber were looking for one specific person,” he went on. “Three unintended targets wound up either getting struck by bullets or stabbed.”
Cops have some solid leads on the latter incident, said Festino, thanks to “great video” that was shared by area residents. However, with respect to Cohen’s murder, he told the group that, while it is being actively investigated, the NYPD is hoping that people will share the surveillance images of the suspected perpetrator. “The more people who see the pictures and the video, it could point us in the right direction.”
Despite the reassurance, residents in attendance at the precinct expressed concern about both the park incident and the one on Third Avenue.
With respect to the former, Hayward assured his listeners that there was a frequent presence at Owl’s Head and other area parks. There is an officer at Owl’s Head throughout the afternoon and into the evening, he said, and at night and in the early morning hours, the precinct’s conditions team keeps an eye on it and other parks. “We know the parks and the quality of life are important,” he stressed.
Asked about whether the precinct was cracking down on the bar where the victims had been, Festino stressed, “The perps had nothing to do with the bar. They came from somewhere else.” Nonetheless, Hayward said, “We are actively going after the bar for violations we believe have been committed. It’s going to be a process but be assured, we are going to be checking up on it a lot.”
Anyone with information about either crime should call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, 800-577-TIPS or, for Spanish, 888-57-PISTA, or log onto www.nypdcrimestoppers.com. Information can also be texted to 274637 (CRIMES), entering TIP577.