Gunfire at Waldo Gardens shatters peace

During an open meeting with 50th Precinct, electeds, neighbors air their worries


For unknown reasons, two young men wearing black hoodies walked casually into the vestibule of the Mitchell-Lama Waldo Gardens co-op near Manhattan College on March 16 and were fired upon. No one was injured.

Around 8:15 p.m. 3800 Waldo Ave. residents were shocked to hear the gunfire in front of their building.

According to released surveillance video from the vestibule, the young men saw what they thought to be a resident checking their mail. They allegedly asked her to let them inside, but she froze. Seconds later, three shots were fired from outside the building while one allegedly ricocheted off a car across the street. The two men dropped to the ground and ran out.

The 50th Precinct detective squad could not give The Riverdale Press and residents any more information than the original report. But what they do know is that “shell casings were recovered from the scene by responding officers,” a police spokesperson said to The Riverdale Press in an email.

The new 50th Precinct commanding officer Capt. Filastine Srour expressed her concerns during an open board meeting of the co-op last week on the video conferencing application, Zoom. More than 50 people attended the virtual meeting.

Crime Prevention officer Rasha Jashmeer and Community Affairs Officer Cesar Sala were with the captain. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz attended the entire hour-and-a-half meeting.

Several weeks ago, the assemblyman and Councilman Eric Dinowitz were in the building, knocking on doors canvassing. And during the co-op meeting, the assemblyman continued to compliment the building. “It’s a great building!” he said.

“I’ve asked the police to pay special attention there,” the assemblyman said. “They’re not going to have a person on patrol there every day forever and ever but I know it’s on their radar.”

During the meeting, Sala received harsh feedback from residents as they expressed their concerns, a resident told The Press. “People were concerned and very, very upset,” a resident said.

However, Sala assured the residents things would get better. And that the investigation team is working on it — but that he couldn’t discuss too much.

Another resident asked, “when will this happen again?” Their fear was if they need to look left and right every time they leave the building.

Almost 80 percent of people in the building are 65 and older.

“We’re still waiting for posters that were promised to us. That’s what annoys me,” a resident said a week after the meeting. These promised posters were supposed to be distributed the following day.

Wanted posters give an opportunity for people to call and provide any information they might know. It helps the detective squad to quickly identify a subject .

The Office of the Deputy Commissioner Public Information would only say there was a report on file for reckless endangerment at the property.

Another resident asked the Captain at the meeting about a New York City Police surveillance camera outside their building. These cameras are located in multiple streets and are easy to notice. They are big white boxes attached to a pole and printed with the words “NYPD security camera.”

“We were told many times the camera did not work,” a resident said.

“It’s working, and that is how we got our footage for Waldo Avenue,” a resident quoted Srour as saying.

But that was not the only footage the police have. The Manhattan College dorm has a camera, residents told The Press, but it has yet to be confirmed if it is working. There is also a camera on 3660 Waldo Ave., which is across the street, and possibly the pizza store, which is adjacent to Waldo Gardens.

“It’s horrible, but thankfully no one was hurt. There is other stuff going on in the area which has nothing to do with this,” the Assemblyman said. “But it still makes people feel unsafe and they should not have to feel that way.”

On March 22, police and gunmen exchanged fire at a NYCHA building. Four suspects mugged a man in Marble Hill before 9:30 p.m. ABC7 Eyewitness News reported that the suspects tried to steal the victim’s motorcycle. 

Waldo Gardens, 3800 Waldo Ave., Filastine Srour, 50th Precinct, Rasha Jashmeer, Cesear Sala, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Mithcell-Lama, shooting, guns