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Man gunned down in drug-drenched corner of East Village

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Jan. 19, 2:14 p.m.: A man was fatally shot Monday evening on a drug-infested strip of Alphabet City that residents lament seems like it has slipped back into the dark crime days of the 1980s.

According to police, around 8:40 p.m. officers responded to multiple 911 calls of a man shot in front of the Fresno II Gourmet Deli, at the southwest corner of Avenue C and E. Third St.

Responding cops found a 36-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the chest. E.M.S. transported the victim to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police closed off a block of Avenue C as they collected the ballistics evidence. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Police are withholding releasing the victim’s name until his family has been properly notified.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

A Police Department press spokesperson said there was not much information to add to the report at this point.

“An unidentified group of males was seen fleeing by witnesses” after the shooting, he offered. However, he added that it wasn’t immediately clear whether the fleeing individuals were involved in the shooting or just running away from it in fear.

Collecting a bullet-shell casing found near the curb outside the Fresno II Gourmet Deli. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Sometime after 11 p.m. Monday night, Crime Scene Unit officers were documenting the location of the bullet-shell casings left scattered on the street after the shooting. There were a total of six casings, which they marked with yellow numbered signs before photographing them. They then collected the ballistic evidence in plastic baggies.

Police officers guarding the crime scene were joined at one point by detectives, at left. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Avenue C was blocked off at Third and Second Sts. as police investigated the crime scene.

Across the street from the deli, on the intersection’s southeast corner, inside the crime-scene tape marking off the area, lay a white Lang Tu-brand folding bike. Police guarding the crime scene said they did not know if it belonged to the victim. However, the New York Post reported that one person who called police about the shooting said the victim had been on a bike.

This may have been the victim’s bike. It was lying inside the crime scene that was taped off. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Asked if he had heard the shooting outside, a worker inside the Fresno II Gourmet Deli said he had not started his shift at the time.

Meanwhile, two local residents who spoke to The Village Sun at the scene said this stretch of Avenue C has a serious drug-dealing problem that is not being addressed by police, and so they were not surprised by the violence. They both declined to give their names. To protect their safety, the newspaper will not identify the two individuals in any way other than to say they live in the area.

Another Crime Scene Unit officer collecting a bullet-shell casing. (Photo by The Village Sun)

The corner building at 32 Avenue C, at the intersection’s southeast corner, which is being renovated and has been ringed by scaffolding for some time now, attracts a sketchy element around it, the first resident said.

The first resident said, “I heard, I would say, five, six shots. I thought it was [fire]crackers. I was in my kitchen area, watching TV. The building is a problem. It’s taking them forever [to fix it up]. … Bad actors on the street… . We also have a drug dealer across the street there [nodding toward a spot across Avenue C to the south of the deli]. It’s [like] the good old ’80s. He has kids running for him. He drinks alcohol on the street, hard liquor…out of a bottle. Obnoxious.”

At least six shots were fired. (Photo by The Village Sun)

The second resident figured the white bike belonged to the victim.

“It looks like they were going to meet because he was on the bike,” the second resident said. “They sell crack here. It’s coming from Fourth St., that building [Marina Bracetti Plaza, a Housing Authority development]. Sometimes they come here to sell the drugs. It’s this whole area, Fourth St. to Second St.”

Some say that this New York City Housing Authority development is the source of the drug dealing on lower Avenue C. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Rudy Giuliani recently disgraced himself by inciting Trump diehards to violently storm the U.S. Capitol. But the second resident said, when Giuliani was New York City’s mayor, he cracked down on drugs and crime in the East Village — though now, under Mayor de Blasio, the streets have regressed to the bad old days.

“Remember in the ’8os?” the second resident said. “[Giuliani] cleaned everything up. There used to be cops on every corner in the East Village. That was when Giuliani was mayor. But no more. … Don’t point. Don’t be moving your…[hand]. Don’t talk to me. … They’re watching. …

“It’s a lot of heroin and a lot of crack. And the crack is bringing a lot of homeless. You just have to come here the first of the month [and see for yourself] when everyone gets their [welfare] money.

“[The dealers are] young kids. They like 18, 19, 20. Yes, yes, it was cleaner [under Giuliani]. I say it’s the mayor’s fault. I knew something was going to happen sooner or later. … The police walk by and don’t do anything.

“These people don’t respect me, they smoke their crack pipe right in front of you.”

Correction: The original version of this article said the shooting was at 10:40 p.m. but it occurred at 8:40 p.m.


  1. Mata Hari Mata Hari January 27, 2021

    This is scary. A man was mugged last week in the middle of the day, at 12:30pm, in broad daylight in front of the building where I live on East 3rd St. They broke his jaw and got his cellphone. The building has had a scaffold on it for 3 years now, providing cover for bad things to happen. They need to hurry up and pass laws against endless scaffolding, it’s not safe.

    • mamaduke22 mamaduke22 January 27, 2021

      Man yal dont even know..If those blocks could talk, dammnn. You know how many people bankrolled those blocks..Now u got the new jacks, and i mean that literally, destroying the community, not realizing that the dotcom-era cats…aint having that…The police wont do nothing, and you know why?? We selling and killing each other, process of elimination, you do the math..But shoot one of those white boys related to one of these politicians that brought the kid a condo down there..And watch how fast it changes… Talk about you got that loud…aiiiiiight we’ll see..IT’S CALLED PROCESS OF ELIMINATION..and if one of them took the time to go at least read some literature, they’d see the problem is not the environment, but the people that make up the environment…🤔

  2. John Penley John Penley January 19, 2021

    There is a long history of drug sales on this corner. I used to live on E.3rd between A and B for many years. In the early 90s I photographed a shootout between undercovers and dealers in a storefront there that left a dealer dead and a cop wounded. The story made the cover of the NY Daily News. I guess things have gone back to the way they were then.

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