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NYC mayor after shooting: 'Officers are clearly in danger'


NYC mayor after shooting: 'Officers are clearly in danger'

By Colleen Long and Adam Goldman
Associated Press

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Police officers walk through a cordoned off section surrounding the Marriot Marquis Hotel where a shooting took place in the hotel's passenger drop-off area. (AP Photo)
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NEW YORK — The mayor railed against gun violence on Friday, one day after a street peddler died in a shootout with police outside a hotel in bustling Times Square.

Raymond Martinez, 25, was killed by a plainclothes sergeant Thursday after trading gunfire in an area crowded with tourists and holiday shoppers.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about the shooting while appearing at a Manhattan charity event, and he used the question to discuss one of his signature issues - illegal firearms and gun violence in New York and other big cities.

"We've got to stop this," Bloomberg said. "This is one of the great public health threats. And our police officers are clearly in danger."

Investigators were trying to determine whether Martinez was selling illegal weapons before he was fatally wounded in the taxi area of the landmark Marriott Marquis hotel. They say the gun he fired was reported stolen in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 28.

"We keep getting this lesson every day," said Bloomberg. "If you think of all the publicity about the terrible tragedy of Virginia Tech, we have a Virginia Tech in this country every day. It's just spread across 50 states."

Police say Martinez was carrying several business cards linked to Virginia gun dealers near Richmond, in Hampton Roads and in Ivor. All the gun shops declined to comment.

One card had a handwritten message on the back: "I just finished watching 'The Last Dragon.' I feel sorry for a cop if he thinks I'm getting into his paddy wagon," according to police. It's unclear who wrote the message, apparently referencing a 1985 martial arts movie.

The shootout occurred in the theater district. Bullets shattered windows at the Broadway Baby souvenir store and a box office.

Broadway Baby manager Jonathan Erlich was still reeling Friday. Police said he was lucky to be alive.

He said he heard "Boom! Boom! Boom!" and "a quick splat of glass" before ducking behind the counter.

"That was a bullet!" he recalled screaming.

The slug sliced down the center of a book about the show "Wicked," struck a souvenir baseball and lodged in a shelf holding "I Love New York" T-shirts.

"It's insane no one else got hurt," said Erlich.

Sgt. Christopher Newsom operates a task force that monitors aggressive panhandling and was patrolling with an anti-crime unit. He recognized Martinez and his brother from past run-ins. He asked to see tax stamps, required for street peddling.

Martinez ran; Newsom pursued.

Martinez turned and fired a machine pistol that held 30 rounds, getting off two shots before it jammed, police said. The officer fired four times, striking Martinez in the chest and arms.

"We're lucky the weapon jammed," said police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

He said the shooting preliminarily appeared to be within department guidelines, which allow for deadly force when an officer's life is threatened.

Martinez's brother, Oliver, returned to the family's Bronx home Thursday evening after hours in custody. Another brother, Anthony, cried out that he hates police: "They shot my brother!" he said, hugging Oliver.

Police say it's not uncommon to arrest hawkers on more serious charges. Police Capt. Edward Winski said there have been more than 400 peddler arrests this year and illegal activity has been increasing.

Police said the Martinez brothers were cited previously for not having their stamps. They were also suspected of running a scam: asking someone's name, writing it on a CD and then demanding payment of $10.

But their cousin, Nailean Arzu, said the slain man had been lawfully selling CDs for years.

"Everybody loved him," she said. "It's a great loss to the family."

Police spokesman Paul Browne said officers pay special attention to scams and panhandling during the holidays. Specialized units are set up in areas, including Times Square and Canal Street, where stolen goods, knockoffs and scams are prevalent.

"We focus on them this time of the year, because they're preying on tourists during the Christmas holidays," Browne said.

143 Posts
Perhaps no one on this thread will be surprised but the article doesn't even attempt to explore the inconsistensies. In reading through, the initial impression is that someone purchased the gun, the gun was stolen and reported stolen, then the gun showed up in NY. Was this a straw purchase? Was it a legitimate purchase and real theft? Either way, the gun didn't get on a Greyhound bus and take itself to NY. Someone did something illegal but Bloomberg makes it seem as though there is a gun shop conspiracy to specifically sell guns in an illegal manner to make sure they show up in NY:* - NYPD IDs Seller of Gun in Fatal Times Square Shooting

"...was purchased at a gun dealer outside of Richmond, Va"

"...weapon was reported stolen from a car last month in Richmond, Va."

"...Dale Blankenship, owner of Dale's Guns outside Richmond, said he ....doesn't sell Mac-10 pistols."

"...Bloomberg has been a fierce critic of gun stores with a record of selling weapons that later wound up in the hands of criminals..."

NYPD IDs Seller of Gun in Fatal Times Square Shooting

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- New York City police say the machine pistol used by a street hustler shot dead in a Times Square gunfight was purchased at a gun dealer outside of Richmond, Va.

Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are trying to find the woman who bought the gun,
25-year-old Jordan Kelsey-Stewart.

Police spokesman Paul Browne says she purchased the gun Oct. 18 from Dale's Guns in Powhatan, Va. Police say shooter Raymond Martinez was carrying several business cards for Virginia gun dealers in his pocket, including Dale's Guns.

Martinez, who wrote songs about staring down cops in Times Square and hawked CDs to tourists, was carrying a pocketful of business cards from Virginia gun dealers and a stolen Mac-10 pistol when he was killed by a plainclothes officer near the Marriott Marquis hotel. The handgun, which held 30 rounds, jammed after Martinez got off three shots.

Martinez's weapon was reported stolen from a car last month in Richmond, Va., and there was some evidence he owned it for only a brief period of time -- weeks at most and perhaps just days.

Investigators also were trying to determine whether Martinez had other weapons. They planned to search his Bronx home.

"We're actively investigating whether he was involved in purchasing firearms,'' said chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

Dale Blankenship, owner of Dale's Guns outside Richmond, said he had a table at the show, but doesn't sell Mac-10 pistols. He said he had never heard of Martinez.

Another of the dealers said its business cards would have been available at another recent gun show or to anyone who came by the store.

Martinez, 25, went by the rap name "Ready'' and regularly sold CDs for his group, Square Free, in Times Square. He was part of a freelance collection of hawkers who sell self-produced wares on the street.

Police said Martinez ran a scam in which he would autograph a CD or put a passerby's name on it, and then demand payment of $10. He had been arrested June 19 at 1515 Broadway, the exact same location where Thursday's confrontation started, for not having a tax stamp, which allows hawkers to sell their self-produced wares.

Vendors selling their own work are protected by the First Amendment and fall outside the stricter regulation of vendors selling retail goods.

The sheer number of vendors in Times Square and their aggressiveness lead to frequent confrontations with authorities trying to catch counterfeiters and protect tourists from scams.

Martinez and his brother are well known to regular Times Square denizens and videos of them rapping and getting hassled by police are posted on YouTube. In one shaky video, Martinez shouts, "They ain't taking me nowhere!'' and "I'm ready to lay some down!'' as officers, their hands in their pockets, escort him from the area. His lyrics talk of hawking CDs and staring down cops.

Sgt. Christopher Newsom usually works in uniform on a task force that tracks aggressive peddling. He was in plainclothes when he stopped Martinez on Thursday and asked him for his tax stamp, setting off the chase and shootout.

Josiah Deandrea, who was distributing fliers Friday to a comedy act a block from the shooting scene, said he had seen Martinez in the area in the past.

"Nobody had any idea he had a gun,'' Deandrea said.

Daniel O'Phalen, 24, who passes out fliers in Times Square for the musical "White Christmas,'' said Martinez was part of a regular crew of CD salesmen. Sometimes, he said, the group would order him off a corner, saying he was on their territory.

``They're pushy. They're not nice guys,'' he said.

Still, it's rare that police encounters with peddlers escalate to gunfire.

``These are usually quality-of-life violations, and they typically do not escalate, they don't involve violaters being armed,'' Browne said.

If Martinez had recently gone looking for a gun, it wouldn't have been unusual for him to look out of state.

Because buying a firearm is so difficult in New York, people barred from owning pistols here often travel south to shop at gun shows where there are no required background checks for people buying secondhand weapons. Martinez didn't have a license to own a firearm.

There is also a steady supply of guns purchased at southern gun shops and smuggled north.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a fierce critic of gun stores with a record of selling weapons that later wound up in the hands of criminals, suing several of them in recent years for reckless conduct and driving several out of business.

There are "too many guns on the streets,'' the mayor said Friday. "This is one of the great public health threats. And our police officers are clearly in danger.''

The machine pistol like the type used Thursday are rare in the city: only 26 have been recovered so far this year, compared with 5,427 other guns. In 2008, there were 46 recovered, and 5,959 other guns.

10,182 Posts
So, the guestion is not how to control guns, it's how to stop idiot criminals and theives..... try locking them up ..... longer.

227 Posts
New York mayors have had a thing for Va. guns for years. They seem to forget that it isn't the gun, it's the criminal brandishing the gun that's the problem. Don't know about you but my guns have never tried to kill any one?

Be Safe,


7,585 Posts
Dear Mr Bloomberg...
Three words for you: Bring. It. On.
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