On Friday, May 11, police found 62-year-old resident Ana Delvalle dead inside her fifth-floor apartment. She was killed with a gunshot wound to her head and her hands were bound.
Two days later, 54-year-old Basin Gray, who lived next door to Delvalle, was also found dead inside his apartment. He was shot multiple times in the torso.
Authorities are investigating whether the two deaths are linked. The NYPD put out a $10,000 reward for any information that could lead to an arrest and conviction.
Last Friday, dozens of seniors and youth gathered at the Bushwick/Hylan Community Center to debrief the incidents. Police officers from PSA 3 served sandwiches as they gave presentations about safety and crime prevention.
Captain Ray Daley said while the NYPD is still investigating what happened, they still want residents to help as well.
“If you see anything or hear anything, please let us know,” Daley said. “Any small detail can lead to a break in the case.”
Detective Jeremy Eusebi reminded residents of important safety protocols, including asking for identification whenever someone asks to open the door, even a police officer. He reassured the residents that the police officers have their backs.
“When you leave here, you’re not alone,” Eusebi said.
Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, who organized the event, said she was worried after hearing what happened to Delvalle. But after she found out about Gray’s death, she found the killings even more alarming.
That’s when she decided to put together an event to remind the seniors on what to do and what not to do, and to remind them that they’re still together as a community.
“I think just to ease them a little and let them know there are people here to help them,” Davila said. “I hope they don’t become so fearful that they will shy away from what they do on a normal basis.”
The Brooklyn assemblywoman said while there have been shootings in the past, she had never “seen anything like this.” But encouraged the residents to rely on each other as neighbors as the NYPD continues to investigate the case.
“The one thing I know about this neighborhood is that we’re not scared,” Davila said. “We will not let some punk from out there, who decided he wanted to send a message, put fear in our hearts.”
Between speeches from anti-gun violence activists and a presentation from ThriveNYC, the city’s mental health initiative, students from the Grand Street Settlement presented drawings and paintings about gun violence in their community.
The young students expressed their desire to end gun violence and for everyone to “live and succeed.”
Gail Williams, a 45-year resident of Bushwick Houses, said the community event “needed to be done” in light of the shootings.
“Too much is happening and people need to get involved,” she said.
She urged fellow residents not to be scared of what’s happening, but to “do something about it.”
Williams wasn’t in the state at the time of the shootings, but found out about it when her daughter called her. When she came back, she saw pictures of who was killed. She recalled taking yoga and exercise classes with Delvalle.
“I knew her. it shocked me,” Williams said. “Things happen, you have to be very careful.”
Williams, who has four children and seven grandchildren, said she teaches them to live life without fear, but to use common sense.
“You have to live your life and if you’re out here doing things you’re not supposed to, there’s consequences,” she said. “You’ve got to live like everybody else.”