It's a sickening feeling. Coming home because your wife called to say a shooting happened right across the street. Arriving at 9:30, the cops wouldn't let me or any others onto the block, for an hour and half while they investigated. One thing was clear - that a friend, a co-conspirator with us on the block parties, a 30-year veteran of the block, had become very, very upset to find the slain woman. Turned out it was her niece. We're devastated for her. J is a big-hearted, generous woman, a legend on the block for better and worse, a "miracle" had recently come into her life as she just two weeks ago inherited, with her daughter, a brand new preemie girl, only 1 lb and 5 1/2 months at birth, from a close relative who simply can't take care of her. Life was good, J said just Tuesday night. Now she's lost a close loved one. And did I mention the victim was a mom? I don't know Fatima personally, but at 29 her life was taken. It's unlikely she was the intended target.
Others were shot. Three others. The commander called two "innocents." The wife says they're all innocents. So true. Nobody needed to be shot tonight. Even the bad kids should get their day in court, not a death sentence over some stupid dispute. And you know that's what it was - a girl, some money, drugs, possession of a few yards of concrete. The killer ran away, but he won't get far. They will catch him (I hope), they will do what they do with kids like him. He'll be forgotten by most, but the gang to which he was attached will become wary, and better armed. Retaliation is inevitable. There are no adults to act as peacemakers in the sick games these kids play.
A Samaritan neighbor we just met at last Saturday's block party was among the first on the scene. Rumors were everywhere. It took the Daily News to piece it together, because even my correspondence with the 71st Precinct Commander, while comforting, didn't give me much to go on. He said call back tomorrow for the details.
I've been writing here, and telling everyone I can - elected officials, block association presidents, the precincts (Clarkson is in two, the 71st and 70th), PLGNA, C.O.P., anyone who will listen, that it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.
Tonight is when. And I feel sick about it.
Those pics are from the Daily News' Ken Murray. I can't bear to post the other of our grieving friend. R.I.P. Fatima Jones. May your children find their way without you.
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.