During the ceremonial portion of the New York City Council Stated Meeting on Wednesday, April 5, Councilman Eric Ulrich honored Lt. John Russo with a proclamation for his outstanding detective work, which led to an arrest in the Karina Vetrano case. Lt. Russo, a Howard Beach resident, was instrumental in identifying the suspect, who was indicted on 13 counts of murder and sexual abuse later that day.
In February, a 20-year-old Brooklyn man, Chanel Lewis, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the highly-publicized death of Karina Vetrano – the Queens jogger whose body was found in a Howard Beach park. Connecting the dots, Lt. Russo of the 106th Precinct spent six months poring through records, eventually finding the alleged killer. With this new lead, cops were able to obtain a DNA sample, linking Lewis to the murder.
“For many months, there was a profound sense of sorrow and grief that swept over not only Howard Beach, but all of New York,” Councilman Ulrich said at the ceremonial. “We’re honoring a hometown hero. He is truly one of New York’s finest and it’s because of him that we were able to make an arrest in this case, bring about some justice, and hopefully bring about some closure not only for the Vetrano family, but for the community, who also felt the pain that was caused as a result of this heinous crime.”
To view the entire album for last week’s ceremonial, click here
Councilman Ulrich Funds and Hosts Successful Tree Planting Event at Forest Park
On Saturday, April 8, Councilman Ulrich, in conjunction with Friends of Forest Park, hosted a successful tree planting project at Forest Park. More than 100 volunteers participated in the effort, which was funded by the Councilman’s office. Nearly 90 trees were planted near the Richmond Hill War Memorial. The initiative sought to replace dozens of trees that were downed during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.
Enough is Enough – Councilman Ulrich Wants Gov. Cuomo to Redeploy State Troopers in NYC
Last week, Councilman Ulrich reached out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to request that State Police Superintendent George Beach redeploy the additional state troopers patrolling New York City to other areas of the state.
“While I can appreciate your commitment to keep New Yorkers safe, a number of my constituents have contacted my office to protest the enhanced police presence, citing overzealous ticketing for minor traffic violations,” Councilman Ulrich wrote in his letter to Cuomo.
“State police confirmed over the last several years they issued an average of 50 tickets per year in New York City. In the first month-and-a-half of this year, they have already handed out 3,000 tickets. At this rate, state troopers are on-track to issue 24,000 tickets to City drivers annually – nearly a 50,000 percent increase from the years prior to this push. With more than 20 percent of New Yorkers living below the poverty line, I am troubled by this staggering figure.”
A Special ‘Thank You’
In October, Councilman Ulrich coordinated a street co-naming ceremony honoring Justin Zemser, a UN Navy Midshipman who was killed in the AMTRAK derailment in 2015. His father, Howard Zemser, wanted to say thank you and presented the Councilman and staff his with t-shirts he had printed commemorating the occasion.