Shootings Followed Rap About Killing of Keith Salgado

UntitledSuzanne Rozdeba

As State Senator Daniel Squadron called for tougher gun laws at a press conference at Campos Plaza today, new information emerged about a shooting outside of The Central Bar on Sunday. Some believe the incident was tied to ongoing beef between certain residents of Campos Plaza in the East Village and their rivals in the Baruch Houses, on the Lower East Side.

Norris Barrino, 55, told The Local that his son, 26-year-old LeRon, was the organizer of an open-mic event at the sports pub where a fight broke out at around 10:40 p.m. Everything was fine, said Mr. Barrino, until “some gang members weeded in.”

Mr. Barrino was at Central Bar early in the night and heard an account of later events from his son, who did not respond to The Local’s request for comment earlier this week. According to Mr. Barrino, the trouble started with a rap about the killing of Donovan “Keith” Salgado, almost a year ago. “There was a comment made about a woman whose son was killed here,” said Mr. Barrino this morning at Campos Plaza. “One of the guys knew that some of the guys who were involved with that were there. He got up and rapped about him. He said, ‘The guys who killed Keith are here.’ That’s what started the whole thing.”

UntitledSuzanne Rozdeba Norris Barrino

“Once my son heard that, he shut it down,” said Mr. Barrino. “Everybody went outside, and that’s when the shots went off.” Several people ran back into the bar to escape the line of fire.

Mr. Barrino happened to be driving near Campos when he heard the shots ring out that hit David Cruz, he said. He doesn’t believe the 24-year-old was the intended target. “I think David got shot because he was in the wrong place,” he said, adding that Mr. Cruz was not at The Central Bar. “I’ve known David since he was a little kid. David has kids; both of his sisters go to college. He’s not that type of guy.”

Still, like others in the neighborhood, Mr. Barrino has heard that all three incidents – the bar fight, the shooting near Ninth Street and Third Avenue, and the Campos shooting – were related. He said he didn’t know the names of Mr. Cruz’s shooters, but that “people are saying it’s guys from Baruch. Whoever did the shooting on Third Avenue, they assume they came here.”

UntitledSuzanne Rozdeba Senator Squadron with a member of PSA 4.

Mr. Barrino, who was a member of the Lower East Side’s Black Spades gang during the 1970s (and said he was the cousin of pop singer Fantastia), believes the shooting was “project retaliation” between residents of Campos Plaza in the East Village and others of Baruch Houses in the Lower East Side. (In February, the commanding officer of the Ninth Precinct, Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann, told The Local that members of the Money Boys gang, most of which live in the vicinity of Campos, “have issues” with the Stacks gang, based in Baruch).

The beef between the two groups, said Mr. Barrino, does not involve affiliation with national gangs like the Crips or Bloods. “Organized gang members are only interested in one thing, and that’s making a lot of money. But these kids are interested in, ‘Don’t mess with my project, don’t mess with my block,’” he said.

A friend of Aida Salgado, the mother of Keith, told The Local that Ms. Salgado was upset when she found out someone had rapped about her son shortly before gunshots rang out Sunday. “She was crying,” said the source, who did not want to be named. “She doesn’t want them to think they can retaliate against her and her family. She made it clear she had nothing to do with anything.”

Earlier today, as expected, Senator Squadron, along with Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin, State Assembly member Brian Kavanaugh, and state senate candidate Brad Hoylman, spoke at Campos before a crowd of about 20 people, many of whom were residents of the complex.

“There is no issue more profound than the violence that communities across the city have been suffering,” said Senator Squadron. “Right here, in Campos Plaza, in the last week, there was a shooting. The victim, David Cruz, is not with us today, but he was simply out in his neighborhood and was shot in the leg. These shootings happen all too frequently.”

Senator Squadron called for “basic, common-sense laws that would make an enormous difference,” reiterating some of the measures outlined in his recent op-ed for the Daily News.

Later, Ms. Mendez, who has allocated funds for extra security cameras at Campos, told The Local that there had been a delay in their installation. “I don’t have all of the answers to that,” she said when asked for a timeline. “I will be getting to the bottom of that. But cameras, people need to understand, is just a deterrent. It’s not going to stop crime.”

About 10 minutes after the end of the press conference – during which Senator Squadron had said, “We have worked very closely with the Ninth Precinct and PSA4; we really appreciate the effort they put in” – police officers from Public Service Area 4 arrived, and asked the senator what he was doing at Campos. While the senator explained he was holding a press conference, an officer took notes and asked the senator to spell his name.

This post was revised on Oct. 5, 2012 to correct an editing error. Mr. Barrino is a cousin of Fantasia, not her uncle.