Late this past Thursday afternoon, at roughly 3:10 p.m., Main Street was thrown into pandemonium at the corner of 77th Road when a string of gunshots rang out, taking the life Mark Greene, 18, a student from just across the street at P.S. 792 North Queens Community High School, a program that boasts just over 100 students. Formed for the 2007/8 school year, taking the location of Queens of Peace, the school offers an alternative grade system, forgoing the traditional grade levels for a four-house system unique to the school. Originally pledged to be operated solely for pregnant teens, the student body has since evolved and now comprises children with problems who seek a quick and effective way of graduating on-time or faster. Neighbors have complained of fights, car break-ins, and other petty crimes over the years, but nothing as dramatic as the events of this past week.
Greene, from Jamaica, fell flat on his face and was found struggling to breath by responding NYPD officers. He was transported via EMS to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where he died. Two Black males were taken into custody a few blocks from the scene and were suspected to be related to a gang dispute; a firearm was recovered on scene. A vigil will be held at the scene this Thursday at 3 p.m.
Bystanders ran for cover as the barrage of bullets unfurled. Students ran back to school, sending it into a hard lockdown. Main Street was soon in a complete standstill. Buses soon began to disembark on location. The final stop for all travel on Main Street towards Union Turnpike was the Young Israel of Queens Valley. Deputy Inspector Kevin Chan, Commanding Officer of the 107th precinct, was at the scene and acted in coordination with State Senator Leroy Comrie, Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal, and Council Member James Gennaro. Shevach High School, located nearby, received an “all clear” to dismiss their students around 4:40 p.m.
Neighbors have since posted signage calling for the school to be shuttered, attracting 290 signatures to a Change.org petition by this past Tuesday evening. Visit www.chng.it/6WYsp2rR for more info.
By Shabsie Saphirstein