New York Daily News: BROOKLYN, NY – Bullets fly all over New York City — cops count a 92% increase in shootings this year — and in the worst-hit area of all, Marvada Barthelemy raises the son of one of the dead and wonders why no one can stop the carnage.
“There is nothing we can do,” said Barthelemy, 40, an Amazon warehouse worker who lives in the Howard Houses in Brooklyn, scene of four shooting murders so far this year, more than any other city housing project.
Barthelemy’s boyfriend, Jamal Windley, 47, was shot June 22 in one of the East New York project’s courtyards. The shooting and the shooter were captured on video — but so far, cops have not made any arrests.
“We wish the police would do something,” Barthelemy said. “They try to make it out like it was about drugs, but it wasn’t a drug thing.”
“He was my best friend. He was a major part of my life. He was the reason I continue to struggle to get by.”
Howard Houses has 10 tall red-brick buildings set among grass lawns and trees typical of New York City Housing Authority projects of its era.
When it opened in 1955, a Daily News writer hailed Howard Houses as one of three NYCHA projects “rising out of what was once the worst slum area in Brooklyn,” which had been dominated by the infamous Italian and Jewish “Murder Inc.” gangsters.
Gang violence reigns again in the old neighborhood.
“It’s public housing at its worst,” a veteran NYPD Housing Bureau officer said of the Howard Houses.
“There are remnants of drug use in the hallways and stairwells — blood splatter, needles, broken glass,” said the officer, who asked that his name not be used.
Howard Houses is thick with members of the Bloods gang, the veteran cop said.
It’s not easy for the officers to keep up with the shootings. “Every day, it seems like the FIOs (Field Intelligence Officers) are handing out wanted posters for new shootings to cops who are demoralized and burnt out, and expecting them to run out and catch these guys,” said the officer.
Howard Houses’ four homicides lead NYCHA projects in the city, NYPD data shows. The project had no homicides in same period of 2019.
Citywide, homicides and shootings are up sharply.
Through Friday, police counted 371 homicides in the city this year. Compared to the same period of 2019, that’s an increase of 34%.
When its data on housing project crime was last updated Oct. 18, the NYPD counted 59 homicides in NYCHA property, up 41% from the same period of 2019
The murder rate is far worse in NYCHA projects than elsewhere. As of Oct. 18, the projects have seen 15.5 homicides per 100,000 people, compared to 4 per 100,000 elsewhere in the city.
As of Friday, shooting incidents are up 92% citywide in 2020, the NYPD says.
Police counted 257 shooting incidents in NYCHA projects this year as of Oct. 18, also a 92% increase over 2019. Sixty-seven shootings were reported per 100,000 NYCHA residents, compared to 12 per 100,000 in the rest of the city.
Jamal Windley was a stay-at-home dad, Thomas Jefferson High School grad and aspiring rapper.
“He was a good and kind person,” Barthelemy said. “He leaves three boys, a grown son in his 20s, a 13-year-old and a 4-year-old he had with me.”
Windley also had a record of drug arrests, and served state prison time for attempted murder. He was the second man shot dead at Howard Houses in five days.
Windley’s girlfriend and Mazyck’s relatives say Windley and Mazyck were friends, and believe their murders are linked. “They were shot by the same person. The streets be talking,” said Isawaha Mazyck, 45, who is Romaine’s brother.
Romaine Mazyck — who had a criminal record that included robbery and grand larceny — was shot in the head and chest.
“The police said they’re doing the investigation, but they haven’t gotten back to my mother with anything,” said Isawaha Mazyck, a construction worker who lived with his brother at the Howard Houses.
“There have been so many shootings. They tend to forget people like us as soon as there’s another shooting.”
Two months after Mazyck and Windley were slain, Howard Houses saw its third homicide of the year when a gunman shot Diandre Irvin, 34.
Irvin, 34, died in a courtyard in the complex on Aug. 23, a Sunday, just after he left dinner at his uncle Allan Thomas’ home. He left behind a 10-year-old daughter.
Irvin worked at a Petco, and had a side gig maintaining people’s aquariums. One of them was at the 73rd Precinct stationhouse, a few blocks from the Howard Houses. Detectives from the precinct went to Irvin’s funeral, and told Thomas they were thankful for his nephew’s help with the station house fish.