Neighbors of a halfway house in Queens that was home to the four suspects who allegedly attacked a woman leaving a borough church last week had no idea the halfway house was there.
The revelation was made Monday during a news conference by Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD officials to announce the forthcoming 116th Precinct in Queens.
According to the conference’s transcript, members of Community Board 12 were unaware the youth halfway house was there until after the 50-year-old woman was robbed and forced to perform oral sex on her attackers at gunpoint.
When asked what the notification process was for the facility, de Blasio said he didn’t know.
“When we announced the plan for the adult shelters a few months ago, we made very clear the notification process we would be undertaking going forward,” he said. “Anything involving domestic violence, for example, is a different set of rules for obvious reasons around confidentiality. I don’t know the specific rules when it involves minors. … We’ll get back to you to give you history of how that specific shelter was handled.”
It was an employee of the 21-bed halfway house, which has residents between the ages of 16 and 21, who identified the suspects and alerted police, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
Three of the attackers, Brandon Walker, 20, Justin Williams, 17, and Julisses Ginel, 19, were arrested last Thursday.
The fourth suspect has been identified as 20-year-old Isaiah Shorter, whose photo was released by police on Monday.
Boyce said that Shorter had 14 prior arrests, which included two for robbery and one for endangering the welfare of a child, according to the New York Post.
According to the incident’s police report, the 50-year-old victim was approached by two armed men as she left the Celestial Church of Christ near 150th Street and Beaver Avenue in Queens around 11 p.m. last Tuesday. When Walker, Williams and Ginel were arrested at the halfway house on Thursday, two imitiation pistols were recovered.
All three were charged with robbery, criminal sex acts, criminal use of a firearm and sex abuse, while Walker and Williams were also charged with menacing.