'Something Is Wrong': Brownsville Mourns 11 Shootings in 15 Days

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tyquan Jamison Tyquan Jamison (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

In a little over two weeks, 11 people have been shot in Brownsville, Brooklyn, including a 15-year-old boy named Tyquan Jamison. He died from a single bullet wound last Monday. WNYC's Kathleen Horan visited the East New York community where, for many, living with the threat of violence has become a way of life.

It's hot summer day and, at first, it's hard to detect anything out of the ordinary in the neighborhood. But the sound of a New York Police Department helicopter flying low overhead is a reminder.


Down the street from where Tyquan Jamison was shot, several men are hanging out on a stoop on Christopher Street.


Shawn Harvard is the first to speak about the persistent violence. The 39-year-old has lived in Brownsville most of his life and he says when you're young it’s easier to get drawn into the wrong things. He should know. When he was 13, he was shot six times.


Harvard has scars all over his body; the last bullet will be removed next month. He said he tried to stay out of trouble as a kid, but the pull was too strong.


"I was good in school," he says. "The streets -- the streets caught me and instead of doing the right thing, I went the wrong way."


Fred Daniels is also hanging out on the stoop. He says 2 of his close family members were also shot within the last year.


"My little brother got killed…and this year my cousin, DJ, got killed right here on Mother Gaston and Hall," the 41-year-old Daniels says. "Both from gun violence. They were in their cars and somebody just took their lives"


The NYPD says they’ve stepped up patrols in the area and are doing everything possible to curtail the shootings.


Two blocks away, outside the Seth Low projects where Tyquan lived, family and friends are gathering to have a candlelight vigil. His mother, Wendy Jamison, is standing, leaning on a fence near a makeshift memorial. Candles and handwritten messages are scrawled with his nickname, "Nookie."


Jamison says it’s important for people to know that Tyquan was well behaved and honest. That gave her a sense of security, and she would allow him sometimes to stay our late, and attend parties. "I didn't have to worry about my son when he went to these parties," she says. "I knew what type of person he was, so I let him to go."


Jamison believes her son was shot after doing the one thing she told him not to do: play basketball at a nearby court where there are often conflicts with kids who live at a neighboring housing project. Hours later, her son was found a few blocks away, with a bullet wound in his torso. She says she's haunted by thoughts that he died crying out for her.


“I know he was scared," Jamison says. "I know he was crying for me....He thought I was coming. He didn’t think he was going to die."


Tyquan's 11-year-old younger brother comes up to comfort his mom. Pastor Wille Barlow who's there to say a few words of prayer at the candlelight vigil, looks at the pictures of Tyquan and shakes his head. He says the guns need to go, but its not just about having more cops on the street. "We have plenty of cops," Barlow insists. "We have enough cops in this community, but something is wrong that we can't get these guns off the street."


More than 100 gather around Pastor Barlow lighting candles, saying prayers for Tyquan and offering support.


As the procession begins, a man standing nearby wearing sunglasses is clasping his hands tightly. He looks angry. M. Morton Hall says he's lived in the community for more than 50 years and believes violence like this wouldn't be accepted in other parts of the city.


“If this occurred in a Caucasian community, there would be an uproar," he says. "There would probably be troops or whatever else – something would be done. Some kind of resources would be brought if in 15 days 11 shootings….A police state is not the solution. The solution to this is doing whatever they can to help these young kids.”


The funeral for Tyquan Jamison will be held on Monday evening at the Highway and Hedges Church behind the housing project where he lived.



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Comments [10]

lester innocent from carnassie brooklyn

we need to pray for this nation of american weneed to take these guns off the street brownville is not dangerous is the corrupt people in brownsville that make the place dangerous please let's pray for brownsville and stop the violence

Apr. 29 2011 07:12 PM
p@gneizluv! from brwnsvlle,brklyn, NY

Well, as for myself,I was born and raised in Brownsville,Brooklyn..I've lost 12 friends within a 5year period!You cant always say that the neighborhood itself is dangerous. Its the clamarous people, that sensible people try to avoid as much as possible..The gun violence not only here, but all aroiund the world is becoming perposterous!People are'nt killing people,the guns are killing people!Now adays its the littlest people, with the biggest guns..Its a very scary world to raise your children in.People dont want to fight, they want to shoot!When these guns end up in the wrong hands, then thats when catastrophes happen.Its one thing to protect you and yours, but its another thing when you decide to play GOD!

Jan. 24 2011 11:05 AM

How about hanging those convicted of murder. Not lethal injection, or electrocution. March them up a flight of steps, place a noose around their neck, and drop them several feet.

Maybe knowing that is awaiting you might convince a few people to reconsider violence, and those it doesn't won't be around long.

Jul. 27 2010 12:38 AM
Richard from BK

Another factor is that Brownsville, unfairly and unceremoniously, feeds the State prison system and many of the persons being released from jail and prison return there. The impact of having a diminished capacity to find legal, productive means of support will normally be negative when few positive options are available and skills develop in individuals that prove dysfunctional in the mainstream

Jul. 26 2010 06:22 PM
LCruz from brooklyn

more/better "parenting" needs to be done, thought it's a difficult issue at best, insurmountable at worst, i was born and raised in Brooklyn, and can only thanks my parents for not letting me stray onto bad behavior which ultimately leads to well "bad results"...

Jul. 26 2010 10:57 AM

Columnist Jim Dwyer of the New York Times recently wrote that the real disgrace in Brownsville is how many people the NYPD stops and frisks for handguns here, as compared to the Upper East Side. Maybe they've listened to him, and Eric Adams, and Charles Barron, and the others who seem to want the police to step aside so we can have a new Tyquan Jamison each week. People who follow this line point to stats and numbers that support their largely political points but fail to take seriously the victims of crime and their first order right, the one that comes before the procedural ones: the freedom to live in safety from the violent aggression of your neighbors.

Jul. 25 2010 02:33 PM
Ken from Bronx

Of course,Ms.Horan couldn't complete her story without quoting a black man claiming racism is behind the lack of coverage and police response to these shootings.Ms.Horan has ostensibly been trained well by the Diversity Gang.

Jul. 25 2010 12:47 PM
Chris from Teaneck

The long term solution that is politically and resource workable is to break up this concentration of maladies. People to relocate to other places away from this devastating environment. The government removes people after the fact (by sending them to prison). I would propose supporting people who want to move out to affordable housing in other parts of the city and suburbs. I think the program was called "Gautreaux Program" in Chicago.

Jul. 25 2010 11:44 AM
Jeanne DeFlorio from Lemon Grove, CA 91945

I am not professional but how about the Cops and the Community involving itself to discover how prevention can take place in this community? Not more police presence but more citizen reaction? Have locals let the police know what they will need assistance with and residents addressing the violence in community forums. Have strength develop from within, moving outward to show that community resources and positive commitment are there to stem the tide. Just a suggestion and maybe not the right one.

Jul. 25 2010 06:52 AM
mbw from Washington Heights

Nothing new here except record number of guns out there. Combine that with oppressive summer heat and grinding poverty. It used to be fist fights and people getting stabbed with switch blades and slammed with baseball bats. Now the illegal firearms make the outcome more certain; lives extinguished before they a chance at living.

Jul. 24 2010 10:41 AM

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