This Week’s Headlines: Bronx shootings shake the city

Edwin J. Torres/Office of the Mayor

Two deadly shooting incidents occurred in the Bronx in the past week, one killing a police officer and the other resulting in two deaths at a local hospital.

NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia was shot and killed while in her vehicle at her command post in the Bronx early on Wednesday morning. Familia, who had served in the police for 12 years, was targeted by Alexander Bonds, a man with a criminal record and history of mental illness. On Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said that she was “assassinated without warning, without provocation, in a direct attack on police officers assigned to safeguard the people of New York City.”

Familia’s death was tragically reminiscent of a similar incident in Brooklyn in 2014, when two officers sitting in a patrol car were fatally shot by a man who had travelled from Baltimore with the intent of killing police.

The shooting raises issues of ensuring proper rehabilitation for citizens with mental illness or violent tendencies, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing on Thursday that he had ordered a review of the hospital which treated and dismissed Bonds shortly before the shooting. Mayor Bill de Blasio also addressed concerns about further attacks against police by further investment in bulletproofing police vehicles, with an additional $1.3 billion announced to retrofit command vehicles with bulletproof windows and door panels.

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A few days before Familia’s death, there was an attack at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center last Friday. Dr. Henry Bello, a disgruntled former employee with a history of sexual harassment and abuse, used an AR-15 rifle to kill a doctor and injure six others, before shooting himself. The incident shook the community, as Bronx-Lebanon serves as a sort of community center for the neighborhood where it is located. Bello was able topurchase his gun legally in upstate New York the week before the shooting, as this type of rifle was not banned by the restrictions of the SAFE Act signed by Cuomo in 2013, which outlined a stricter definition of assault weapons not allowed in the state.

If there’s a Wills, there’s a way (to court)

Ruben Wills

Opening arguments were held in court for the case against New York City Councilman Ruben Wills on Wednesday. Wills has been accused by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of spending around $30,000 in state grant money and city campaign matching funds for personal use. His defense lawyer, Kevin O’Donnell,was clearly taking the matter very seriously, as he joked with court officials and told prosecutor Travis Hill that he was trying to “have a little fun.” In his opening argument, O’Donnell said that Wills was only guilty of bad bookkeeping and being “sloppy” with his records. “This guy isn’t a Harvard graduate,” the lawyer said, apparently in defense of the sitting councilman, to explain away discrepancies.

Red, white and boos for de Blasio

Nicole Malliotakis

Assemblywoman and Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis was met with cheers and selfie-seeking citizens during her walk in the Staten Island Fourth of July Parade. De Blasio, who also attended the event, was received less warmly than the native daughter of the borough, even facing the occasional boo.

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De Blasio did have one supporter during the parade – Borough President James Oddo, a Republican on good terms with the mayor. He said that the mayor’s presence “wins some begrudging admiration.” Perhaps he’ll get more applause during his last-minute trip to Germany, where he traveled to give a keynote speech at a protest at the G20 summit.