WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2022
Alleged mental illness, allegedly lenient courts: Some of our many murderous shooting incidents are mass shooting incidents. Some involve one victim only.
So it was on the New York subway this past Sunday morning. Daniel Enriquez, age 48, was shot and killed on the Q train—apparently at random, for no apparent reason.
A suspect is now in custody—Andrew Abdullah, age 25. We note two possible aspects of this case, based on this morning's New York Times report.
First is the possible role of mental health / mental illness:
MARCIUS AND WATKINS (5/25/22): Lamor Miller-Whitehead, the bishop of Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches, said Tuesday at the Fifth Precinct that he had spoken with Mr. Abdullah’s relatives as the suspect contemplated surrendering.
“I spoke to the family, who said that he suffered from mental illness, mental health challenges,” Mr. Miller-Whitehead said. “I said, ‘Let’s get together. And let’s turn him in.’ And they all agree, even the young man said, ‘I’m going to turn myself in.’”
A surrender had been brokered by Tuesday afternoon, but before it could happen, officers with guns drawn arrested Mr. Abdullah at the Legal Aid Society’s offices, said Mr. Miller-Whitehead. “I don’t want anyone by any stretch of no one’s imagination to believe that this young man ran. He did not run at all,” Mr. Miller-Whitehead said.
Was mental illness involved in this matter? We aren't able to say.
That said, the Times report records a second point of concern—possible leniency within the criminal justice system:
MARCIUS AND WATKINS: “This horrific crime should never have happened,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a news conference Tuesday, noting Mr. Abdullah had a string of prior arrests. “The violence on the Q train last Sunday morning was committed by another repeat offender, who was given every leeway by the criminal justice system.”
In the last few years, Mr. Abdullah had been charged in connection with several gun-related offenses. In 2016, he was indicted as part of a sweeping gang case in Manhattan, and in 2018 he pleaded guilty to a weapons charge tied to two Harlem gangs. He was paroled after four months in prison, a spokeswoman for the state corrections department said.
He faced new gun charges in 2020 in Manhattan, according to court records, a case that is pending, and he was out on bail. In March 2021, Manhattan prosecutors charged him with assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
John Duvalier, 71, said he recognized Mr. Abdullah as one of a handful of young men who hung around outside twin 15-story apartment buildings at 580 and 590 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. He described them as “trouble.”
“I don’t mess with those guys,” Mr. Duvalier said. “I advise them to go to school and get some education.”
That's how the news report ends.
Crime rates had been way, way down in recent decades, preceding the pandemic. That doesn't necessarily mean that our society's various systems had been working wisely and well in all possible cases.
At any rate, our own tribe's rhetoric in recent days, and in recent years, has touched upon mental illness issues, as well as upon the functioning of the criminal justice system.
Tomorrow, we'll start to look at the rhetoric our tribe was promulgating in the aftermath of the Buffalo murders. In our view, it's very important for us to see how unwise we frequently are.
That's even true within our own blue tribe, which tends to be vastly self-impressed and vastly self-assured.