Volume 78 / Number 9 - July 30 - August 5, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Above, police officers guarded the crime scene at E. Seventh St. and Avenue D last Thursday. Below, a hole was left by one of the bullets that pierced a deli window at the site of the shooting.

Disturbed gunman wounds tenant leader, deli worker

By Jefferson Siegel

Two men were injured last Thursday, after a disturbed man with a gun shot them in Loisaida. The gunman, identified as Jesus Ortiz, wounded a block resident and a teenage deli worker. Ortiz then drove to a police station and told officers, “I shot a guy,” according to the Daily News.

According to the News, police said that Ortiz ambushed neighbor Calvin Gibson, 50, a local boutique owner who had stopped to buy coffee at the Jahanara Deli & Grocery on E. Seventh St. at Avenue D about 8:15 a.m. on his way home from taking his child to school.

Ortiz, who is reportedly schizophrenic, shot Gibson six times in the thigh, neck, abdomen and chest outside the store, police said. Gibson was in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital.

Three shots pierced the deli’s window and hit Mohammed Islam, 18, a student at New York City College of Technology, according to the News report. Islam was also taken to Bellevue, where doctors removed two bullets from him.

Ortiz reportedly told police that the shooting was part of an ongoing fight, but didn’t give details. Ortiz had previously assaulted Islam and threatened neighbors since going off his medication, said reports.

Gibson is vice president of the tenant association at 278 E. Seventh St. — the building next door to the deli — and owns Deja Vu, a women’s clothing boutique at 309 E. Ninth St.

Aurelia Diaz, who lives next door to the deli, told The Villager last Thursday that she heard the whole thing. She said Ortiz had been going to a “clinic” on Eighth St. between First and Second Aves.

“Mentally, he really is not there,” she said, noting Ortiz takes medication for “schizophrenia and retardation.”

“His family’s been trying to get him in the hospital for a while,” she said. “His family’s been trying to get help for years.” Diaz said Ortiz lives in Queens but was temporarily staying with his mother at 278 E. Seventh St., Gibson’s building.

“He hears voices and he sees things,” Diaz said. “He thinks the world is out to get him. He thought the kid in the store was talking about him.”

Diaz said Ortiz went to the store and started arguing, and that Gibson, who she said is nicknamed “Kai,” tried to break it up.

“Stop talking about me,” she said she heard Ortiz scream, before he started firing shots, then ran outside to his car, which was parked in front, and drove off.

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