Saturday, December 22, 2007

Arrest in Lot 6 Shooting

The arrest of a young man in connection with the shooting death of Bukhtiar Katchi reminded me of an assignment I had the day before that brought me to the same location where the stray bullet struck the victim.

I had attended a press conference at Democratic headquarters in the basement of the Mirons building. A bunch of elected officials and Democratic City Committee members had entered from and would exit to Municipal Parking Lot 6. It was the same location where Mr. Katchi took the bullet that one teenager allegedly fired at another in an afternoon battle between two youth groups at Gavett Place and East Second Street. The March 13 homicide was the first in 2007.

The thought of gun violence taking an innocent life in one of the city’s most popular parking lots is chilling. So is the recent incident in which a boy, 9, brought a cocked and loaded gun to Clinton School.

Operation Ceasefire was announced in December 2006 and is finally underway. I hope the effort results in getting guns off the street and especially out of the hands of young people.

The print media have already reported the facts of the Dec. 13 arrest of a city youth who was only 17 at the time of the shooting. The investigation is ongoing, with more arrests possible. Anyone with information may call Detective Jean Calvin at (908) 753-3036 or Detective Suzi Deegan at (908) 965-3810 or call the Union County Anonymous TIPS Line at (908) 654-8477. Calvin and Deegan, along with Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Henn are credited with the nine-month investigation that led to the arrest.

--Bernice Paglia


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