NEW YORK (NewsNation) — An uptick in violent crimes is plaguing the East Coast amid what’s dubbed the “summer surge,” and police departments across the country are doing their best to maintain peace on the streets as more people are out and tensions often run high, leading to violence.
Recently, the surge has been deadly in the Northeast, and some of those accused of committing the violence aren’t even old enough to drive a car yet.
In New York, supporters, including Mayor Eric Adams, are demanding New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg drop murder charges against Jose Alba, a Manhattan bodega worker who they say acted in self-defense when he stabbed and killed 34-year-old Austin Simon on July 1.
New surveillance video appears to show Simon’s girlfriend stabbing the worker three times in the shoulder and hand. She has not been charged.
“We saw the footage; the footage doesn’t lie,” said Dr. Debbie Almontaser of the Yemeni American Merchants Association. “We are asking the DA Alvin Bragg to please take into consideration this footage and make sure that he provides Mr. Alba the justice that he deserves.”
Bragg is expected to meet with the United Bodegas of America and Yemeni American Merchants Association to discuss bodega owners’ safety concerns and self-defense and Alba’s charges Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy was charged with murder in New York City after police say he stabbed a 14-year-old to death on a subway platform on July 9. The stabbing happened a few blocks away from the bodega shooting.
In Philadelphia, two brothers, 10 and 14 years old, turned themselves in Monday for their alleged involvement in the June killing of 73-year-old James Lambert.
Surveillance video shows a group of teens surrounding Lambert and beating him over the head with a traffic cone and kicking him on the ground. The severe head trauma ended Lambert’s life.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice launched Operation North Star, arresting at least 1,500 people they call some of the most violent criminals in the country.
New York and Philadelphia were among the highest-crime cities where U.S. Marshals arrested suspects wanted for shootings and homicides.
“This initiative reflects the anti-violent crime initiative that we’ve had in place,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. “Which is an example of our efforts to protect our communities from violence and gun violence.”
The DOJ hopes the arrests will help temper the rise in violent crime in big cities and small towns across the country, as police departments experiment with ways to end the summer bloodshed.
Shootings and homicides are down compared to this same time a year ago in New York City, but it doesn’t feel that way for people living there, with some calling it the wild, wild west.