Bill de Blasio blames NYC's surge in violence on coronavirus pandemic

NYPD commissioner slams Bill de Blasio for slashing police budget as gun violence in the city surges 130% and video emerges of a father being shot dead while holding his four-year-old daughter’s hand

  • At least 63 people were shot, 11 fatally, in New York City over the July 4 weekend
  • One of the shootings was caught on video, showing the moment 29-year-old Anthony Robinson was killed in front of his four-year-old daughter in the Bronx 
  • It comes after shootings in the city spiked 130 percent in June with 205 victims
  • NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea on Monday said the surge in violence was ‘predictable’ given police budget cuts and the release of 2,500 Rikers inmates 
  • Shea accused de Blasio of ‘bowing to mob rule’ with his recent police reforms
  • De Blasio responded to criticism Monday by placing blame on the coronavirus
  • He suggested that the violence is the result of continued economic woes, restlessness after months in lockdown and failures by the court system 

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea launched a fresh attack on Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, calling New York City’s recent spike in violence ‘predictable’ given police budget cuts and the release of 2,500 inmates from Rikers Island. 

Shea’s comments came after the Big Apple saw 63 people shot, at least 11 fatally, in 44 shootings separate shootings over the holiday weekend. 

One of the shootings was captured in shocking video which showed a 29-year-old man getting shot dead in front of his four-year-old daughter as they crossed a street in the Bronx on Sunday.   

On Monday afternoon NYPD officials revealed that gun violence increased 130 percent in June, with more than 205 shootings – a trend that’s shown little sign of stopping into July.  

De Blasio sought to defend his police reforms during a press conference on Monday afternoon where he blamed the surge in violence on the coronavirus pandemic. 

The mayor acknowledged that the city saw ‘too much violence’ between Friday and Sunday and said: ‘We have a lot of work to do to address it.’

But he argued that ‘there is not one cause for something like this’, citing failures by the court system, economic uncertainty and the fact that residents are restless after months in coronavirus lockdown. 

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NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea (left) took aim at Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday morning, calling New York City’s recent crime surge ‘predictable’ given police budget cuts and the release of 2,500 inmates from Rikers Island. De Blasio (right) responded hours later by blaming the bloodshed on the coronavirus pandemic 

At least 63 people were shot, 11 fatally, in 44 shootings separate shootings in New York City over the holiday weekend. Police are seen responding to the scene of a shooting that left a 23-year-old man dead in Harlem early Sunday morning

One of the shootings was captured in shocking video which showed a 29-year-old man getting shot dead in front of his four-year-old daughter as they crossed a street in the Bronx

‘This is directly related to coronavirus,’ de Blasio said. ‘This is a very serious situation. As we’re getting into warmer and warmer weather, we’re feeling the effects of people being cooped up for months, the economy hasn’t restarted – we have a real problem here.’

De Blasio vowed to ‘double down’ against violence with a multi-pronged response that would include an emphasis on neighborhood policing. 

He called for ‘all hands on deck’ with community leaders and elected officials as the city works to bounce back from being ‘dealt a really tough hand’.  

‘It was the health care crisis in March and April, May we were coming out of it, the warmer months,’ he said. ‘People are cooped up, they don’t have the normal things to engage their lives.

 ‘But we’re going to overcome it. It’s going to be tough and take hard work. I know it feels very unsettling for people but we’re going to fight it back.’

De Blasio’s comments came as the shocking video emerged of the shooting that killed a young father in the Bronx on Sunday. 

Police said 29-year-old Anthony Robinson of Brooklyn was shot in the chest just before 6pm as he passed in front of 221 East 170 St with his daughter. 

In the video the pair are seen crossing the street before a car drives up to them. A gun extends from the front passenger window and fires. 

Robinson, who police said had many prior arrests, dropped to the ground on the crosswalk as his daughter ran for cover. 

The father was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead. 

No arrests have been made in the shooting and police did not indicate any possible motive.  

Video shows the moment a person in a passing car extended a gun and opened fire on 29-year-old Anthony Robinson as he walked down the street with his daughter

The car fled from the scene, leaving Robinson lying in the road as he daughter ran to get help


The NYPD released its crime statistics for June on Monday, revealing a dramatic spike in gun violence from the same month last year. 

New York City saw a 130 percent increase in shootings (205 vs 89) and a 30 percent increase in murders compared with June 2019 – with rates rising in all five boroughs.    

Other crimes are also on the rise – with burglaries increasing 118 percent (1,783 vs. 817) and auto thefts increasing 51 percent (696 vs. 462).

Though the NYPD has made approximately 40,000 fewer overall arrests so far in 2020 compared to last year, gun arrests are rampant with 1,679 reported so far in 2020, compared with 1,683 across all 12 months last year. 

Speaking to NY1 on Monday morning, Commissioner Shea said he wasn’t surprised at all by the weekend’s surge in shootings.   

‘This has been predictable,’ Shea said. ‘You heard me saying: “A storm is coming,” and we’re in the middle of it right now.’

Shea tore into de Blasio and his administration last week after the city announced a $1billion cut to the NYPD’s budget in response to weeks of protests against racism and police brutality.  

‘You’ll see in the City Council, [a] bow to mob rule,’ Shea said last Wednesday. ‘And let’s mark the date on the calendar and how long it’s going to be before we’re having a conversation about New York is crying out for more police. And I think that day has come.’   

After the bloody weekend, Shea on Monday argued that there is plenty of blame to go around – including with the latest policing reforms. 

He ridiculed a new local law that criminalizes the use of chokeholds, saying: ‘Police officers should not have to worry more about getting arrested than the person with the gun that they’re rolling around on the street with.’

Shea also railed against how the inmate population at Rikers Island has been reduced by half thanks to bail reform and efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus inside the notorious prison.   

‘Where is the other half right now?’ Shea asked. ‘We’ve transplanted general population to the streets of New York City and it’s extremely frustrating. And don’t think this is happening by happenstance. This is organized.’

However, Shea said it’s not too late to address city chaos.  

‘We can fix this,’ he said. ‘We don’t need a lot of new things. 

‘What we need is support — and that’s in short supply. We need tools. We need the laws that make sense. And then we need resources. Those three things and we can turn this around quickly.’

The inmate population at Rikers Island (pictured) has been reduced by half due to bail reform and efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus inside the notorious prison

NYPD Chief Terence Monahan also weighed in on the weekend violence on Monday, calling it ‘unacceptable’. 

He said the surge was due to ‘a combination of things’, including the pandemic, new reforms and heightened tensions between police and citizens. 

‘The animosity toward police out there is tremendous,’ Monahan said. 

‘Just about everyone we deal with is looking to fight a police officer when we make an arrest, so it is vital that we get communities together supporting and speaking up for police.’  

The Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s largest union, tweeted out against de Blasio Sunday, writing: ‘Criminals with guns fear no consequences,’ adding that the mayor owes his ‘constituents an explanation’.

Hours earlier, two NYPD officers were injured in the Bronx late Saturday after a bullet was fired through the windshield of their marked SUV. 

The officers had pulled up to a barricade outside Mott Haven’s 40th Precinct just before midnight on July 4 when the shot was fired.

Chilling surveillance footage shows two pedestrians crossing the street in front of the idling SUV just moments before the bullet is seen piercing the windshield, sending a puff of debris shooting up from the vehicle’s hood.

The round passed between the two officers, who were sat in the front seats, and embedded into a divider between the back seats, authorities said. 

One officer was cut in the face from shattered glass while the other suffered ringing ears. Both were treated for their injuries at local hospitals. 

It remains unclear whether the vehicle was intentionally targeted or the bullet was a stray round. No arrests were immediately announced. 

Two cops were injured in the Bronx after a bullet smashed through the windshield of their SUV

A total of 15 people were reportedly shot over Friday and Saturday, followed by another 48 on Sunday.   

Young father Jose Cepeda was shot in the chest shortly after midnight on Sunday in East New York, Brooklyn, the Daily News reported.

The 20-year-old reportedly had a ‘disagreement’ with a friend outside of his home on Atkins Avenue before shots rang out.

Cepeda taken to Brookdale University Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

In Harlem Sunday, a 23-year-old was fatally shot on West 116th St. near Morningside Park around 2.40am. 

Police were made aware of the shooting after the victim checked himself into a hospital and died minutes later.

A 19-year-old man was fatally shot in the chest and a 27-year-old left injured after being struck by a bullet to his left shoulder at 4.20am, following a dispute on East 39th St. in Flatbush.

While the teen was pronounced dead at King’s County Hospital, the older victim was said be in a stable condition. 

A 22-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were later shot a short distance away on nearby Euclid Ave earlier the same evening. 

The man was shot in the chest and the woman was wounded in the right leg around 2.30. Both victims were taken to Brookdale University Hospital and were expected to survive, police said. 

In another chaotic scene, six people were wounded during a shootout that erupted at a party in Harlem, on 131 Street and Lenox Avenue.

All six of the victims were taken to hospital. One of the victims, a 26-year-old male was said to be in a critical condition and likely to die.

A triple shooting also reportedly took place at 306 East 171 Street in the Bronx just before 8.30pm on Sunday.

Two victims of the victims are ‘likely to die’, law enforcement sources said. The nature of their injuries or the circumstances leading up to the shooting remain unclear. 

A 15-year-old boy was also shot in the chest on Madison Avenue, in East Harlem, and was rushed to Mount Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital in a stable condition. 

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