Shootings erupted across New York City over the weekend ahead of the long-awaited second phase of the city’s coronavirus reopening scheduled for Monday.
24 people were shot in the span of as many hours beginning on Saturday, with the court system facing a backlog of cases because of coronavirus closures. The NYPD said suspects arrested on gun-possession charges were being set free because of the court backlog.
“We have over 1,000 people that have been indicted on a gun-possession charge, where the cases are open, and they are walking around the streets of New York today,” NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri told the New York Post.
“This isn’t the DAs’ fault. I get it,” LiPetri added, “They do have a very tough situation . . . It’s gonna be a massive backlog.”
Shootings were down in the months of March and April compared with 2019, following sweeping lockdowns of the city. However, the month of May saw shootings rise 64 percent compared with 2019, while murders increased by 79 percent over the same period, according to the NYPD.
In addition to the shootings, New York along with other major U.S. cities is seeing a massive uptick in the use of fireworks. There were over 2,000 complaints of fireworks use in the first two weeks of June in the city, compared with just 31 during the same period in 2019.
“Last night, it was like Beirut in [Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn] with the amount of illegal fireworks that were going off,” City Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr. told the local Fox affiliate on Sunday.