Killing Spike Arrives Early, 3 Shot Dead in Bloody Week in Norwood, Morisania and Williamsbridge
by David Greene
Traditionally police see an uptick in the murder rate as the warm weather arrives in late May, but this year the rash of killings has seemed to have arrived before the warm weather– as no less than three Bronxites were shot and killed in the past week.
Cops in the 47th Precinct were called to 761 East 214 Street for a report of “shots fired,” and discovered a woman found shot in the back of the head, just steps away from the New Life in Christ Assembly Church in the Williamsbridge section on Sunday, April 2nd.
Officers responding to the 2:31 a.m. call discovered the body of Margarita Franco, 26, who lived a half-mile away on South Oak Drive. Paramedics declared the woman dead at the scene.
One witness reported hearing laughter after the gunfire. Police have made no arrests and continue to investigate.
In an unrelated murder, police in the 52nd Precinct were called to Bainbridge Avenue and East 204 Street in Norwood, where police discovered a man had been shot in the chest at point-blank-range at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29. The victim Michael “Mike” Vermong, 46, was rushed to Montefiore Hospital where he later died.
Responding officers stopped and later arrested Jamel Burney, 32, whom police described as a “career criminal” with more than 80 prior arrests. The revolver was found under a vehicle and Burney, described as a friend of Vermong, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon.
The NYPD reported that Burney’s rap sheet has 87 prior arrests mainly for low level drug offences, forgery and weapons possession, but had never served time at a state facility.
During a press briefing at Police Plaza, Commissioner James O’Neil addressed the revolving door of justice and Burney’s 87 prior arrests, telling reporters, “We’re talking with the district attorney’s to make sure there are consequences for their actions, so it’s not something the NYPD can do alone, we have to work with the prosecutors office.”
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce stated Vermong’s killing was over a long-running drug dispute, adding, “We have a full confession from Jamel Burney by the way. After his 87 arrests, we were still able to get him to admit to the crime.”
The week of mayhem began on Monday, March 27, when police in the 42nd Precinct say aspiring model Aaliyah Alder, 21, of Mott Haven, was discovered in the eighth-floor stairwell inside the Forest Houses in the Morrisania section, with a single gunshot wound to her head.
Police removed several bags of evidence from the Tinton Avenue building and used video surveillance used to track down at least two men fleeing the scene.
The following day police charged Davaughn Johnson, 22, the boyfriend of an unnamed friend of Alder. Police say during the confrontation Alder slashed Johnson on his hand before he shot her.
For the 47th and 52nd Precinct’s these were the first shooting deaths recorded for 2017, but was the second killing reported in the confines of the 42nd Precinct. Despite the three deaths, the NYPD reported a drop in homicides with 57 killings reported so far in 2017, compared with 67 murders recorded during the same time period last year.