Suspect Arrested in Last Month’s Grand Avenue Murder Just as Another Shooting Happens


clifton-02It’s been a rough spring on Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. In mid-March, longtime Grand Avenue resident Gilbert Kelly was shot dead on one of the stoops where he often spent the night between Gates and Putnam. The police wire yesterday announced the arrest of a suspect in the March shooting, an 18-year-old kid who’d already been arrested and released last year.

And yesterday, according to emails we received from neighbors, there were several shots fired at the Clean Society cleaners up the street at the corner of Clifton Place, a longtime hotbed of suspicious activity. From what we gather, the owner was shot several times but not killed, escaping to the community garden next door. One tipster said he saw DEA agents taking cash and drugs out of the storefront.

We’ve been living on this stretch of Grand Avenue for almost a decade and have been hearing the excuses from law enforcement that entire time about how hard it is to crack down on the drug trade that is obviously at the root of much of the violence in this area. Like most residents, we suspect, we feel this has become a pretty tired line when everyone in the neighborhood knows the problem spots and has witnessed plenty of illegal activity themselves.

In the end, we don’t believe it is a question of whether the drug trade and the culture of violence around it can be stopped. It’s a matter of resources and political will. Back in 2009, former D.A. Joe Hynes teamed up with the Brooklyn North division of NYPD to put Operation Grand Slam into effect. (This followed a similar blitz in 2006.) They ended up arresting a couple of dozen people and indicting 11 but were not able to keep the pressure on, and new bad guys simply stepped in and filled the void. We need sustained pressure to adequately address this situation and we need it now.

We would humbly suggest that now would be a great time for new D.A. Thompson to put his head together with the new captain of the 88th Precinct, Peter Fiorillo, and clean this area up once and for all. Platitudes at community meetings aren’t getting the job done.

45 Comment

  • the cops are probably in bed with the criminals.

  • Have you considered moving back to manhattan ?

  • This is classic gentrifying NIMBYism. What incentive does NYPD have to “work hard to crack down” in your neighborhood? They’d be out of jobs!!!!!

    • “Classic gentrifying NIMBYism”? Sure, cause it is elitist to have problems with GUNFIRE, MURDER, and open CRACK DEALING on your block. (Yes I know I am shouting!) That is just, well, a bowl of d-cks.

    • your post is classic TROLLYism. get a life.

      • Actually I think it’s quite elitist [and unrealistic] to think that GUNFIRE, MURDER, and open CRACK DEALING are not to be expected on occasion in that particular neighborhood.

        • yes only elitist gentrifiers want to live in a safe, crime and street drug dealing free neighborhood! and the story is not that it is happening “on occasion” it is that there is an obvious pattern of this type of activity in this area that is obvious to anyone paying attention.

          what special kind of idiot are you?

          • Hello. They CHOSE to move into that area with that long established activity. They have no right to complain. NEXT!

    • Rubbish. NIMBYism typically carries the connotation that residents believe that a development is needed in society but should be further away.

      I don’t think anyone is suggesting in the post that Dealings are Shootings are required somewhere but not on this block. Therefore I don’t think the attitude in the post is “NIMBYism” at all.

      When I lived in Clinton Hill there was blatant dealing on several blocks – it was almost comical how out in the open it was. It’s just lazy to not erm crack down on it.

  • I don’t know anything about law enforcement, but that corner would make a great outdoor cafe, perhaps called Society. It could be the Clinton Hill version of Pastis. I can clearly envision Mathew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker sipping lattes and munching duck confit poutine in the sunlight a few feet from that stop sign.

  • is that really a cleaners? i hear that might be another front – sorta like the candy store, if ya know what i’m sayin.

    • and there’s ALWAYS people on both those corners of Clifton – it’s nice the cops are parked out near Putnam Triangle late-nights now – but seriously – just drive up the block a lil!

    • @DH: Yup, that’s really a cleaners – where you take your clothes if you want to pay to get them back smelling like pot. Lived on the block for decades, don’t know anybody who takes their stuff there. Not exactly a secret, but the 88th has never seemed to be concerned about it…you know the drill, we’re supposed to “be their eyes and ears,” since they hear and see no evil.

  • “We’ve been living on this stretch of Grand Avenue…”
    “If anyone nearby can send in a photo of the crime scene it would be much appreciated.”
    Um, can’t you walk a few blocks and snap the pic yourself?

  • ” we don’t believe it is a question of whether the drug trade and the culture of violence around it can be stopped”
    so, you just want it moved…out…of your neighborhood.

    • Or. Ya know. Maybe instead of cops camping out in the Clinton wash stations to catch fare jumpers they could camp out and catch drug dealers

      • agree.
        just find it ironic that Mr. B wants drugs off the (his) streets but then says he doesn’t think can be stopped.
        drugs will always be a part of society. If not on that corner than another.

        • Whether you lived in Clinton Hill for 2 seconds or 35 years, Clean Society is a known drug spot.. The police know about it, our council woman who lives down the street knows about it as does every person in the neighborhood..

          I remember my first time in there 7 years ago.. Walking in a getting hit in the face with the scent of weed.. I then asked if they did dry cleaning thinking they were just smoking or just had smoked or something.. Everyone looked at me and suggested I take my dry cleaning somewhere else..

          Through out the years I have watched as countless people have gone in to the place empty handed and walking out with plastic bags or book bags filled with things..

          Now, if you walk down the street today, you can see two cars parked outside 293 grand, openly selling drugs out of the cars.. So, what do we say when the next shoot out happens, tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day.. What happens when some little kid gets shot. Do we cheer that at least the bullet came from a gun owned by someone from the original neighborhood?

          Seriously, someone go down right now one building down from where the shooting took place, there is a group of people selling drugs 12 feet from where the police shut down yesterday..

          I know Ken Thompson lives in this neighborhood, is he not capable of stopping crime on his own street?

          Like it has to be either a place to buy drugs or it has to be a place to sip lates? There is no other option? is someone really going to suggest that closing down a violent drug den is one of the terrible things about Gentrification.

          It’s crazy for me to believe there are people siding with shoot outs and drugs deals in the street. Your single minded bigotry is shocking.

          • who’s siding with shoot outs and street drug dealing?

          • You replied under my comment so I guess you’re addressing me.
            I don’t support drug dealing, but know that it’s part of society. It’s gonna happen. The ‘war on drugs’ has failed. Legalizing drugs will reduce criminal activity and crime.

          • To be against gentrifying doesn’t mean wanting to keep what is/was bad before the new people moved in – wanting mom & pops to stay instead of getting new fauxdegas doesn’t translate to supporting drugs & shootings.

      • fare jumping requires less paperwork.

  • I think Mr. B’s just pissed he didn’t get his monogrammed American Appreal Tee back from the cleaners.

  • I’m usually the last to know about these things but I had no idea about the cleaners. Back in 2008 before I officially moved to Brooklyn, I subletted a place in Clinton Hill for the summer. And I actually took my clothes to that cleaners. I remember thinking wow, the owner sure does have a lot of friends- because as I was dropping off my clothes people who had no dry cleaning business kept coming in and out. They did such a horrible job on my clothes I never went back and every time I passed, I wondered how they stayed in business. Now, I know!

  • All this snark about gentrification and crime is misplaced, if not offensive, as if only the affluent are against crime. When we moved on to our lower soutgh slope block nearly a decade ago, the old timers on the block were engaged with the precinct over a rash of crimes (no murders, but still), They were happy to have me and a few other new neighbors join the effort to get more NYPD attention paid to several buildings where we knew there was dealing and occasional violence. The notion that “gentrifiers” should just accept the existing level of crime in a given area because the longtimers have to is offensive to both groups. And the fact that stepped up enforcement may lead to some of the criminal activity relocating is no reason not to do it unless you believe this is entirely a zero-sum game and existing levels of crime can’t be changed (and we still have 2000+ homicides/yr in NYC).. Save the snark for a situation in which no one died and no one’s lives are at risk..

  • And how many local residents use drugs and even buy them from this place?
    And then they’re surprised and amazed that there are gunfights in their neighborhood???
    Are they total idiots?
    Stop using drugs and crime in your neighborhood will plummet.
    (Of course, not only this neighborhood.)

    • lol – that’s quite the oversimplification of a complex issue.

    • Nobody who”s lived in this area for more than a year and kept their eyes open is amazed and surprised. This is ancient history. But “Stop using drugs and crime in your neighborhood will plummet”? Tell that to an addict. And FWIW, we see them in the Wall St variety too – in suits and briefcases and fancy cars – just as frequently as not. There are some things that gentrification doesn’t change, unless the buildings in question actually change hands. The big question: Is DA Thompson amazed and surprised? And whether he is or not, now that he lives on Cambridge with a daily view of this stuff, will he do anything about it? Or will it just be more platitudes at community meetings, and “eyes and ears” nonsense like we’ve gotten for decades? Perhaps today’s activity at 417 Grand is reason for some hope. We’ll wait and see.

  • the collymore family runs that cleaners, no? I wonder how this will impact renee’s reelection.

  • The Police Department has nothing to do with protecting people or property. It is all about revenue collecting.
    The current “In” revenue is issuing moving violations to drivers.
    There is no money in getting rid of drug dealers, they need to keep a few around otherwise they may be demoted to traffic cops or mere tax collectors.

  • I didn’t know, but that does explain the stream of bleary-eyed people buying cigars from the Egyptians across the street. I thought they were just Pratt students.