May 16, 2016 By Michael Florio
An uptick in gang violence will be discussed at a town hall meeting next week.
The town hall will take place May 26 at 6 p.m., at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights (37-06 77th St.). The meeting comes after an 18-year-old was assaulted and stabbed while playing basketball last week at Travers Park (34th Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets).
The teen was playing basketball at 8 p.m. on May 9, when seven to 10 men in all black surrounded him and asked if he was a member of a local gang, A.B.K. (Always Banging Kings), according to the NYPD.
The victim said “no” and was assaulted by the men. He was stabbed in the back, which punctured his lung, according to police. He was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The attack is being investigated as gang-related. No arrests have been made at this time and the investigation is ongoing.
“We are deeply concerned by reports of a teenager who fell victim to a gang related crime in Jackson Heights earlier this week,” Council Member Daniel Dromm and State Sen. Jose Peralta said in a joint statement. “We urge anyone with information on the suspects’ whereabouts to call the police immediately.”
“The city recently added 1,300 additional police officers to the force this year in order to further reduce crime in our neighborhoods,” they continued. “We will continue to do all that we can to put an end to gang related violence. We are working closely with the NYPD to bring this culprit to justice.”
There have been a number of possible gang related incidents in Jackson Heights in the past couple of months.
A 16-year-old was walking his dog at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 80th Street on March 12, when two men stopped him and asked if he was “down with A.B.K.” before stabbing him in the abdomen and his dog in the back.
Just hours later, a 23-year-old male was stabbed in the back by an unknown male with a sharp object, in front of 80-03 Northern Blvd., according to police. The victim was approached from behind. The suspects also referenced A.B.K. in this incident, police said.