Followup: Essex Street Still on Lockdown After This Morning’s Shooting
Essex Street remains closed between Delancey and Grand streets, following the shooting of police officer Brian Groves in the Seward Park Extension building early this morning. Groves was part of a unit patrolling city housing projects; he was shot while chasing a gunman in the building’s stairwell around 3:40 a.m. The officer was saved by his bulletproof vest and is now recovering at Bellevue Hospital, but the shooter hasn’t been apprehended.
Officers stationed outside the taped-off police area are turning all pedestrians away, except those with identification proving residence on the closed blocks. While the Delancey Street subway stop is open, the M9 bus stop near the corner of Essex and Delancey is off limits. No word yet on how long the area will remain closed or how the investigation is progressing.
Residents of the Seward Park Extension began their morning with visits from police looking for information about the suspect, identified as a 5’ 9” black male with cornrows ending in beads. This afternoon, police started handing out wanted flyers on the street near the crime scene, including this sketch of the suspect:
“8 o’clock they came banging on my door,” said Diane Davis, who has lived in the building for three years. “They asked did I hear anything, see anything.” She said she awoke to the sound of police helicopters last night, and was unable to provide them helpful answers about the incident. She added she felt uncomfortable with the heavy police presence outside her home. “I was getting out of the elevator, and a whole S.W.A.T. team was getting in,” she said. “It’s frightening.”
Davis also said that she saw police taking away two black men and a woman from the building. According to her, neither man exactly matched the police’s description of the subject, but the woman was a building tenant she recognized. She said residents are confused about what was currently happening with the police investigation. “Everybody I talk to says something different.”
Radames Mendez, a 52-year resident of the LES, said the shooting was all too typical in a neighborhood that’s not as safe as many people believe. He said the vicinity surrounding the housing development is ridden by persistent and visible drug dealing, and the shooting of a police officer is just another audacious crime. “I’ve never seen so many people dealing drugs in my life,” he said, though he’s witnessed some rough decades in the neighborhood. He tried to dip under the police tape and walk towards his home on Madison Street, but officers quickly ordered him back behind the line. Mendez complied and walked away frustrated. “I can’t even move in the place I live,” he said.