Police have arrested Elliot Baez, a homeless man they say is responsible for vandalizing the September 11 Wall of Remembrance in Coney Island on Friday.
A surveillance camera caught a person authorities believe is Baez, 58, smearing white paint over the memorial and encircling the image of Police Officer Moira Smith at approximately 2:38am Friday.
After video was released, a tipster led authorities to Baez on Saturday afternoon even though initial descriptions suggested the vandal was a woman. Baez was charged with criminal mischief after making self-incriminating statements to police, according to reports.
The Wall of Remembrance, located at MCU Park, honors first responders killed on September 11, and has an image of each of the fallen heroes. Smith’s image appears to have been targeted, but cops told her husband Baez was “deranged” and had no apparent motive or agenda against Smith or her surviving family, according to the Daily News.
Smith was the only female first responder who perished during the terrorist attack. A survivor who worked at the World Trade Center was one of the last people to see her alive, and he has built a website detailing her courage as she helped conduct the evacuation, and has called for a public statue in her honor.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries praised the NYPD’s quick apprehension of the vandal.
“The heroes who laid down their lives to save others on September 11 deserve our reverence and respect for the sacrifice they made that day,” said Jeffries. “The Memorial at MCU Park in Coney Island stands as an important reminder of the courage and valor displayed by American patriots in the face of unspeakable terror. The officers from the 60th precinct who tracked down this suspect should be commended for their thorough work, and the perpetrator should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
A creep has been sneaking up behind women at the West 8th Street subway station near Surf Avenue and snatching their shoes, according to police.
Cops released video of the grand larceny suspect in hopes the public will help identify the man, who they describe as a white male in his 30s.
The man made his first heel heist on September 11 at 3:14pm. As his female victim walked up the stairs to the Q tracks, the suspect approahced her from behind, snatched her right shoe – a black Adidas sneaker – and ran off.
He struck again three weeks later, on October 2, at 8:18am. Again, as the victim climbed the stairs to the platform, the suspect yanked at her right foot and made off with a Nike sneaker.
The suspect was caught on nearby surveillance cameras entering, and then exiting, the station during the second incident. The incidents happened less than one block away from the 60th Precinct.
Anyone with information in regards to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)
A man was found fatally shot in the head Saturday morning in a Coney Island building with a history of recent tragedies.
Police responded to a 911 call at 8:45am of a person shot inside 2007 Surf Avenue, where they found a 43-year-old man collapsed in the 13th floor hallway. The man had a gunshot wound to his stomach and one to the head, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
No arrests were made, and the identity of the man is being withheld pending family notification.
It’s just the latest in a string of tragic incidents at that address. Most notably, on the very same floor as the shooting, a teenager allegedly set fire to a mattress in the hallway in April, sparking a blaze that ultimately took the life of the first police officer on scene, PO Dennis Guerra. His partner was critically injured and recovered, and 16-year-old Marcell Dockery has been charged with murder.
In August, 22-year-old Victor Rosado, an expectant father and community member, was shot to death in front of the building. He was believed to be an innocent bystander struck when an unknown gunman opened fire on a group of men playing chess.
In September, an officer suffered a possible heart attack at 2007 Surf Avenue, where he collapsed when responding to a call for shots fired.
Authorities issued a Silver Alert for Gerald Kinnison, a 65-year-old man with dementia who went missing yesterday morning from his Coney Island home.
Kinnison is described as a 6’1″ black male, weighing 145 lbs with gray hair.
He was last seen at approximately 8am on Thursday wearing black jeans and a brown shirt near Surf Avenue and West 23rd Street.
Kinnison also went missing two weeks ago, but was later found.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.
Keep an eye out for Gerald Kinnison, a 65-year-old man who went missing in Coney Island Tuesday night.
Kinnison, who suffers from dementia, was last seen August 26 just after 11:00 p.m. at Surf Manor (2316 Surf Avenue), the assisted living facility where he lives.
He is 6’1″, 175 lbs, with salt and pepper hair and brown eyes. He wears a metal necklace with identifying information.
If you see Kinnison, please call 911 immediately.
2940 West 21st Street, where police responded to the shooting. (Source: Google Maps)
Cops were called to 2940 West 21st Street last night, where they found 22-year-old Victor Rosado shot dead.
Rosado lived around the corner from where police found him crumpled on the sidewalk just after 11:30 p.m., at 2007 Surf Avenue. He was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
According to News 12, Rosado was an active member of the Coney Island community and was an expectant father.
Witnesses told the Daily News that there was no provocation for the shooting, with Rosado just hanging out with friends and playing a game of chess when an unknown gunman opened fire on the group.
“They killed my little man,” one man, who didn’t want to be identified, said as he choked back tears.
“We was just hanging out, listening to music, playing chess, and they just started shooting. God, that was my little man.”
The man said he ran for safety when the gunshots rained down on them and couldn’t see who the shooter or shooters were.
No arrests have been made.
As of August 10, that latest date for which there are statistics, there have been 13 shootings, with 15 victims, in 2014 in the 60th Precinct, which patrols Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Gravesend. That’s a decrease from the same time period in 2013, which saw 16 shootings and 21 victims. Though shootings are down in the 60th Precinct, citywide gun violence is surging, with a 13 percent increase in incidents.
The scene of the fire at 2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)
The confession offered by 16-year-old Marcell Dockery was coerced by cops who “broke him the same way prisoners of war are broken,” according to the teen’s lawyer.
Dockery (Source: Facebook)
Dockery is facing several charges including murder, assault and robbery after the April 6 fire in Coney Island left one police officer dead and another in critical condition. Dockery is accused of setting the fire, and hours after his arrest he allegedly confessed in writing and on video that he sparked the blaze because “he was bored.”
But now his lawyer is arguing that the confession should be tossed, and is also requesting that a specialist on coerced confessions be brought in to interview Dockery.
Daily News reports:
Defense lawyer Jesse Young said his client “at the tender age of 16″ was no match for seasoned homicide detectives who grilled him for eight to 10 hours in an interrogation room.
“They broke him the same way prisoners of war are broken,” Young said Thursday in Brooklyn Supreme Court. “It doesn’t take much to break a 16-year-old and they did it.”
Young said the detectives extracted the confession in part by falsely promising Dockery that his mother would not be evicted from her apartment if he owned up to torching the mattress.
During a brief pre-trial hearing, Justice Danny Chun authorized funds for the defense lawyer to hire Richard Ofshe, an expert on the subject of coerced confessions, to interview Dockery and review the evidence.
The article also notes that the New York City Housing Authority has kicked off eviction proceedings against Dockery’s mother.
Source: .v1ctor Casale/Flickr
A good Samaritan caught a man accused of rape, and a beating, on Sunday on the shores of Coney Island beach.
Fuat Sarieminli suffered a fractured cheekbone, several loose teeth and seven staples in his head after he grabbed a 20-year-old man attempting to flee the area as a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her.
The woman reportedly cried “rape” at approximately 11:30 p.m., pointing at the suspect.
“Her pants were ripped and her underwear was sticking out, and she was screaming, ‘Help me!’ ” Sarieminli told the Post. (Sarieminli was not identified by the paper, but a Daily News report names him).
Sarieminli continued to tell the paper that the suspect was approaching the woman, so he intervened asking “What happened, bro?” The man said he didn’t do anything and turned to flee, when Sarieminli grabbed him.
As the two struggled, the suspect pulled off his belt and wrapped it around one hand and began pummeling Sarieminli in the face.
The suspect was arrested by police at West 20th Street and Surf Avenue.
He was charged with second- and third-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according to the Daily News. The woman did not press charges for rape, but prosecutors are still investigating.
Source: Alexander Rabb/Flickr
The owner of the landmarked Shore Theater has been declining all proposals to rehabilitate and reactivate the building, including one by a Manhattan restaurateur to turn it into a sprawling restaurant and culinary school.
The 1301 Surf Avenue building was inherited by Jasmine Bullard following the 2013 death of her father, Horace, a Coney Island visionary who long fought to revitalize the neighborhood during its darkest days. Although the building was on the market at the time of his death, Bullard has declined to hear out would-be buyers, Brooklyn Eagle reports.
“I have clients who are ready, willing and able to write a check for the Shore today,” broker Joe Vitacco told Eye on Real Estate.
He has tried to submit purchase offers to her, but in vain: “She won’t even look at them.”
Vitacco said he has four “solid” suitors for the Shore Theater:
* A “very well known restaurateur” from Manhattan who wants to build a cooking school downstairs and a restaurant on the top two floors.
“The view from the seventh floor is magnificent,” he said, and there’s a Juliet balcony where diners would be able to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones playing baseball at MCU Park.
* A “nationally known athlete” who would turn the Shore back into a movie theater — and no, it’s not Magic Johnson (who isn’t actively involved in Magic Johnson Theatres’ operations these days, anyway).
* A billionaire with a home in Brooklyn who “thinks it’s a beautiful building and should be restored,” Vitacco said.
This interested party made an offer when Horace Bullard was alive, but it wasn’t high enough. Now, “he’s willing to come to the table with more money,” the broker said.
* A real estate developer who is involved in Coney Island.
Vitacco marketed Horace Bullard’s properties for about a decade. When the Shore was Vitacco’s listing, the asking price was $12 million.
It is estimated that it will take approximately $35 million to renovate the 115,000-square-foot, seven-story structure.
The 32nd Annual Mermaid Parade is just around the corner, kicking off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 21.
Antique automobiles, wacky floats and scantily clad mermaids and mermen will roll down Surf Avenue and the boardwalk in New York City’s largest public celebration of art, artists and counterculture. But some are grousing over this year’s choice of honorees as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.
The event organizers, Coney Island USA, announced recently that the top slots, previously played by Lou Reed, David Byrne, Queen Latifah and other celebrated actors, musicians and notables, will be filled by New York City’s first kids, Dante and Chiara de Blasio.
The mayor’s offspring will be wheeled through the parade in an antique wicker Boardwalk Rolling Chair that dates back to 1923.
“We are extraordinarily honored to have the participation of New York City’s first family in the parade,” said Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun, who is known as the Mayor of Coney Island. “King Neptune and Queen Mermaid represent the young adults of New York City who are the next generation of visitors to Coney Island and Coney Island USA.”
While many have hailed their selection, we’ve also seen a number of people taking to social media to decry the choice. Some say they’ll be skipping the parade this year because they disagree with the mayor’s politics. Others have argued that the two are hardly creative heroes or counterculture figures.
It’s unlikely the discontent will make much of a difference in attendance at the event, but we wanted to find out what locals think. Are Dante and Chaira de Blasio good choices to celebrate Coney Island’s quirks? Or is this selection just too political for you?