Rival gangs turn Fleming Street into ‘war zone’
ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 01, 2013
A shootout on Fleming and Dunmore Streets between rival gangs yesterday morning left many area residents scrambling for cover and in fear for their lives, according to eyewitnesses.
According to police, officers rushed to the scene shortly before noon after receiving reports that multiple gunshots were heard near the Fleming Street Clinic.
Police said it was the second time in 24 hours that they were called to the area about a shoot-out, which they believe has stemmed from a turf war.
When The Nassau Guardian arrived on the scene, the Fleming Street Clinic’s doors were locked. The clinic remained closed for the remainder of the day yesterday.
Crime scene investigators collected several shell casings from a dirt path connecting Fleming Street and Dunmore Street.
Around 1 p.m., residents of the area were just beginning to emerge from their houses as police processed the scene.
Several of them, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian on condition of anonymity out of fear they would be targeted, said gunshots have been fired in that particular area for the last few days and yesterday as many a 30 gunshots were heard.
Many of them said they are living in fear, but are more concerned about the lives of the many young children who live in the area.
Though at least seven shell casings were collected by crime scene investigators, residents found seven other casings and bullets: four casings nestled in the dirt; two bullets lodged in two separate car windshields and another bullet in the wall of a nearby house.
Crime scene investigators later returned to the area to collect the additional evidence.
A concerned mother and resident said she has been too afraid to walk through her own community for fear of becoming another murder victim.
“...This corner is called Dunmore Street, but this isn’t Dunmore Street, this is gun lane,” said the resident as she pointed to a bullet lodged in her wall just behind where a large gas tanker was parked. “Everyday I can’t sleep, you can’t go anywhere, they are coming out in the road and [shooting].”
Another outraged mother of four, and grandmother of one, also shared that view.
“Everyday, every second you hear gunshots, gunshots, gunshots and we have little children running around,” she said.
“Those bullets can hit any one of our children. We have to be ducking and dodging bullets behind cars and yesterday (Monday) around quarter to one, some guys came through the shortcut shooting bullets [near] a gas tank.
“Everyday I am scared to leave the house. I am scared to go to the store. I am very scared and frightened. You can’t sleep. You sleep and you hear gunshots, you’re walking and you hear gunshots.”
Several residents claimed to know who the alleged suspects were but said they don’t feel police are taking their concerns seriously.
Officer in charge of the Southern Police Station, Superintendent Tommy Laroda, confirmed police arrested a group of suspects in connection with the shootings, though he could not confirm the exact number.
Laroda said police were still searching for more suspects. He said police have been patrolling the area and will increase the frequency of patrols in response to residents’ concerns.