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Tompkins Square Park ‘shooter’ nabbed; Has 50 prior arrests

BY SARAH FERGUSON | Police arrested the man they believe is responsible for two shooting incidents in Tompkins Square Park in March that left two innocent bystanders seriously wounded.

Waldemar Alverio, a 38-year-old homeless man who had been staying at the Project Renewal homeless shelter on the Bowery, was picked up on Delancey Street on Tuesday afternoon and charged with three counts of attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment in connection with both shootings.

He was held without bail and was set to appear in court on April 1.

In the first incident on Sat., March 16, Alverio allegedly got into a dispute with two men who chased him through the park and pushed him to the ground and kicked him, according to a witness cited in the criminal complaint.

As the two men were walking away, Alverio allegedly pulled out a gun from his crossbody bag and fired multiple shots, missing his assailants but striking two bystanders who happened to be in the area just east of the Avenue A playground — then filled with parents and young children.

One bullet struck a 56-year-old woman from Illinois in the hip. The woman, who was reportedly visiting her son in New York City to watch him run a half-marathon, instead had to undergo hip-replacement surgery due to her injuries.

Another bullet struck the buttocks of a 26-year-old male, fracturing his pelvis. Both victims were treated at Bellevue Hospital.

Then on March 21, Alverio reportedly fired off five to seven shots at a man near the chess tables at Seventh Street and Avenue A. He reportedly missed the man, but a bullet pierced a window across the street, above Niagara bar.

One resident wondered why it took two shooting incidents for police to give the park “the attention it needs.” (Photo by Sarah Ferguson)

In both incidents, Alverio fled the park by bike. Police said they are still ascertaining a motive for these brazen daytime shootings, though one police source said they believe the disputes involved drugs. The criminal complaint said that Alverio told detectives he was getting “jumped” and shot at his attackers five times.

But local police were already quite familiar with Alverio, who, according to cops, has been arrested more than 50 times since 2010. A detective quoted in the complaint said he recognized Alverio from “frequent interactions” in the park and said he arrested him for burglary in 2021. (Police also ID’d him by the distinctive tattoo of his name “Waldemar” on his right hand that was visible on the surveillance footage police retrieved from cameras operating outside the park. The cameras posted inside the park were reportedly broken at the time of the shootings.)

The N.Y.P.D. could not confirm at press time whether Alverio was on parole at the time of the park shootings, or whether any of his prior arrests involved guns or violent assault. But he appears to be exactly the kind of “recidivist,” or repeat offender, that Mayor Adams says the city and lawmakers need to target to get a handle on rising street crime — and public perceptions of crime in New York City.

Last week the 9th Precinct posted on X/Twitter how it is stepping up foot patrols inside the park, and on Wednesday evening there was a police van parked in the center oval — a move cheered by all the parkgoers that The Village Sun spoke to.

“I’m glad that the cops are back patrolling the park again, but it shouldn’t take two innocent bystanders getting shot for them to give us the attention that that park needs,” said Abby Ehmann, a longtime resident who owns the bars Lucky and Hekate on Avenue B.

But even with increased patrols, parkgoers said they still don’t exactly feel “safe.”

An unmarked black police car was at the park’s entrance at Ninth Street and Avenue B on Tues., March 26. (Photo by Sarah Ferguson)

“It’s a step in the right direction, but something’s gotta change,” said Matt Impastato, who was hanging in the dog run with his Rhodesian Ridgeback. “There’s more and more instances of random, unprovoked violence,” he noted, citing the latest trend of young women being sucker punched by strangers on the street. “And the other commonality is it’s been people with a prior record of arrests or mental health problems,” Impastato observed.

“They keep quoting statistics that crime is down, and I want to believe them, but there is just one shocking incident after another, and I don’t have much faith in the mayor to fix it,” remarked Dana Isaacson, a book editor who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. “This won’t be solved until unless they get all these guns off the street,” he added.


  1. Capt America Capt America May 6, 2024

    Reactionaries…. ASSEMBLE

  2. MSA MSA March 28, 2024

    Bicycling has made it easy for perpetrators to get around, target victims and flee.

    There have been more and more incidents – including sex crimes – in which the perpetrator was using a bicycle.

    “in both incidents, Alverio fled the park by bike.”

  3. A voter A voter March 28, 2024

    Thanks Assembly Member Harvey Epstein and Senator Brian Kavanagh for passing Bail Reform in 2019.

    So glad you’re running for reelection.

  4. JJ JJ March 28, 2024

    Wow. You’d think the 49th arrest would be a red flag.

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