NEW YORK CITY, NY- Last weekend Law Enforcement Today reported on a shooting at a church in New York City at a Christmas concert. Now, new details are being released and it is enough to make your blood boil.
Breitbart News is reporting that the suspect, who was killed by responding police officers, was from the Dominican Republic, yet somehow had avoided deportation despite an extensive criminal record, according to officials.
How many more times will this happen before anything is done about it? Apparently a bunch if you listen to what the so-called president elect is saying.
Luis Manuel Vasquez-Gomez, a 52-year-old native of the Dominican who lived in the Bronx, started shooting indiscriminately on December 13. The shooting occurred just after an outdoor Christmas concert at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, on the steps outside the church.
Officers of the New York City Police Department responded within minutes, and officers commanded Vasquez-Gomez to drop the gun, which he refused to do. He was then shot by NYPD officers, and later died at the hospital.
According to the New York Daily News, he was wearing a Dominican Republic face mask and hat and was carrying a so-called “manifesto” in which he sought to justify the shooting “because of the way the United States treated the people of Latin America.”
In a tweet the day after the shooting, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea praised the officers involved.
“Last night, as shots rang out at an #UWS church, bystanders ran for their lives. Three heroic NYPD comps ran toward the gunfire & engaged the shooter. These officers didn’t do it for praise or recognition, they did it because it’s in their blood to protect—ALL NYers.”
Last night, as shots rang out at an #UWS church, bystanders ran for their lives. Three heroic NYPD cops ran toward the gunfire & engaged the shooter.
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) December 14, 2020
According to records obtained by Breitbart, Vasquez-Gomes had an extensive, lengthy criminal history going back 30 years. He arrived in the United States in 1976 as a legal immigrant. In 1989, he pleaded guilty after cutting the hand of a man, however avoided prison.
One year later, he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and sale of cocaine, after he was arrested for attempted murder. According to law enforcement records, Vasquez-Gomes fired gunshots in the direction of a woman, as well as police officers. He was sentenced to three to nine years in prison.
Fully “rehabilitated,” in 1995 he was ordered to be deported by a federal immigration judge after completing his prison sentence. Twelve years after his deportation order, still in the country, he was still allowed to obtain a stay of removal and removal waiver, once in 2007 and again in 2017. This immigration deportation stuff works really well apparently.
In 2008, Vasquez-Gomez was in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody after violating his parole in 2007. He was later released from ICE custody, and quite obviously remained in the United States. One would have thought that if the United States was so bad for Latin Americans, he would have gladly returned back to where he came from. Apparently not.
For our original reporting on this incident, we invited you to read on and:
NEW YORK CITY, NY- Despite the fact that many things are shut down this holiday season in New York, many major landmarks, including New York City cathedrals still draws a crowd of many.
On Sunday afternoon, police reported that a man was fatally shot in the head by police on the steps of one of those New York City cathedral’s, after he began firing two semiautomatic handguns at the end of a Christmas choral concert.
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) December 13, 2020
According to New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, a detective, a sergeant and an officer fired 15 rounds after the man started shooting just before 4 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
Shea said that:
“It is by the grace of God today [that no one besides the gunman was struck by gunfire]”
Police shot and seriously injured a gunman in Morningside Heights outside the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on Sunday afternoon. https://t.co/IrTKkgFM95
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) December 13, 2020
Shea also said that witnesses reported the man was yelling “kill me”, as he fired the weapons.
The name of the man is being withheld, as police are still awaiting positive identification.
Additional scene footage.
?: Cristian Benavides pic.twitter.com/jkTkJGhoPI
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) December 13, 2020
According to ABC7, the man had a lengthy criminal history and was carrying a bag containing a can of gasoline, rope, wire, knives and a Bible, Shea said. The police commissioner called the actions of the officers “heroic.”
The concert featured members of Saint John the Divine’s choir, standing socially distant on the steps of the cathedral.
Apparently, the shooting began when the concert, which lasted about 45 minutes, had concluded and people were beginning to exit the church area. When the shots rang out, people began screaming and running down Amsterdam Avenue the report stated.
A cathedral spokeswoman, Lisa Schubert, told The New York Times:
“It was just beautiful, and then at the end this person started shooting. Everybody is in shock,”
She went on to say:
“The shooter could have killed a lot of people. There were hundreds of people here and he shot at least 20 times.”
?: WMBF News pic.twitter.com/4RjlUQ1MYh
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) December 13, 2020
At this time, it is unknown if the gunman was aiming at people or firing in the air.
— Deborah Gembara (@DeborahGembara) December 13, 2020
Cathedral spokeswoman, Iva Benson said by email:
“Our Carols for the Community event this afternoon was interrupted by an armed individual, who set off a round of gunfire into the air from our front steps. Thankfully, no injuries were reported among the attendees and the suspect is in custody,”
The email continued:
“It is horrible that our choir’s gift to New York City, a much-needed afternoon of song and unity, was cut short by this shocking act of violence.”
According to ABC News, the cathedral is one of the world’s largest. Construction began in 1892 and is still incomplete. The church has been connected to many New York luminaries and notable events over its long history. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a trustee. It hosted the memorial services for puppeteer Jim Henson and choreographer Alvin Ailey, and speakers over the years including South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Police fatally shot a gunman at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City following a Christmas concert Sunday afternoon, according to police. https://t.co/kBCYWzOSgw
— CNN International (@cnni) December 13, 2020
Law Enforcement Today will bring you updates on this case as they come to light.
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This report comes as NYC has freed more than 3,000 gun crime suspects in 2020 – all while shootings in the city skyrocket.
According to data shared by the NYPD with the New York Post, almost 90% of suspects arrested in the city from January 1st to November 30th this year on gun-related charges were released from custody after their arrest.
NYC has freed more than 3K gun suspects in 2020 as shootings rise https://t.co/OiwuCOtanT
— Rich Valdes ?? (@RichValdes) December 13, 2020
This catch-and-release statistic also happens to coincide within a period that New York City is seeing an uptick in shooting incidents.
According to NYPD data, there were a total of 3,793 suspects arrested from the onset of 2020 until November 30th on charges related to firearms.
Of that 3,793 arrested, a reported 3,345 suspects were released from custody which means 88% of suspect gun-related offenders were released back into the community after their arrests in 2020.
Some had bail set and made bond, but there also were judges who were prevented from imposing bail on certain gun offenses.
Further data showed that 40% of suspects arrested in 2020 with charges related to gun offenses, had prior arrests related to criminally possessing a firearm.
Nearly 90 percent of New York City suspects arrested on gun charges this year are back on the streets, NYPD says https://t.co/umj6o11afN
— Connor Ryan (@connortryan) December 13, 2020
Of the 3,793 arrested in 2020 for the mentioned offense type, 247 found themselves rearrested within 60 days under new charges. Of those 247 people rearrested, only 32 of those suspects remain in custody.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective and current John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor, offered thinly veiled criticism in the form of sarcasm on the data in light of the numerous shootings within the city this year:
“If an individual is willing to shoot someone, why are we giving them a chance to do it again? It’s not like we are up nearly 100 percent in shootings or anything.”
Giacalone noted that he could already envision “reformers argue” that the majority of suspects detailed in the data haven’t reoffended, but provided his counterpoint to said hypothetical argument by saying:
“Tell that to the victims’ families.”
— LawEnforcementToday (@LawEnforceToday) December 10, 2020
A prime example of the scenarios that radical amendments to how bail is handled within the courts can be illustrated with the case of 17-year-old Aizhan Paul.
On September 6th, police arrested the teen after having allegedly found Paul in possession of an open container of alcohol and a loaded gun inside of his fanny pack.
Paul was reportedly released from custody following his arraignment. Flash forward to October 17th, Paul was said to have shot a 19-year-old in the chest.
Attorney General blames soaring gun violence and murder in New York City on the state’s bail reform law.
— National Association of Bail Agents (@national_bail) September 29, 2020
Even when bail can be imposed on alleged offenders, New York City has a plethora of what’s often referred to as “charitable bail funds.” Essentially, NPOs take in donations and pick and choose suspects they’d like to see freed from jail by posting their bond.
There’s the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, Liberty Fund NYC, and The Bronx Freedom Fund – all of which are based solely out of, and focus on, New York City. That’s not even taking into consideration national “charitable bail funds”.
When taking this data in concurrence with rising gun related crimes in the city, with shooting incidents rising considerably, the correlation could be illustrative of a direct cause-and-effect scenario.
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