SOUTH OZONE PARK, Queens (PIX11) — Stores along Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park are being terrorized by teens from I.S. 226, the Virgil I. Grissom Junior High School.
PIX11 received video of one incident that occurred April 28. Dozens of marauding teens stormed into New Era Lumber looking for a classmate who sought refuge there.
According to her father, the schoolmates were after her because she’d refused to help them attack another girl.
Here’s what one of the workers, Octavio, told PIX11:
“They started throwing things and I went to push them out. When I went to push them out, there was quite a few of them and they barged in, I got struck.”
They finally pushed the horde out the door. The girl who sought shelter was not hurt. Victoria tells us she was told that one of the kids who punched Octavio did get arrested.
According to the comptroller of the lumber store, a woman named Victoria, this kind of thing happens all the time on Rockaway Boulevard when IS 226 let’s out for the day.
“Every day around 2:30 we stop and wonder what’s gonna happen. Maryanne and I are watching the cameras. The guys are coming up to the front. The whole place just stops. It’s like we’re being terrorized.”
Andrew, who’s worked at the store for 10 years, told me, “Every year at this time when the weather gets nice, it’s, um, show time!”
PIX11 also spoke with four other neighborhood store owners who didn’t want to speak on camera, fearing that these rampaging kids might target them.
So where are the police?
Andrew says, ”You see them patrolling the neighborhood but they never get out of the cars. They don’t seem to be — their hands are tied. I don’t know the politics behind it. But they have not been able to do anything.”
On the day PIX11 was at the scene, there were plenty of police officers around. But we’re told a few days later, their presence again was diminished. And then Thursday there was another brawl on the corner right across the street from the lumber store.
That’s at least the third melee at or near the lumber store in the last six weeks.
The NYPD never returned our request for official comment. But it does seem they’re going to have to step up before someone gets seriously hurt in South Ozone Park.
On the very day our story about the rampaging teens in the lumber store was scheduled to air, the teens were at it again.
This time on the street across from the lumber store.
Friday, PIX11 called IS 226 to try to speak with Principal Rushell White. First we were kept on hold for more than three minutes.
Then when we called back, without even knowing the reason for the call, the woman who answered the phone told us to call the Dept. of Education.
When PIX11 called back for clarification, she hung up on us three times, refusing to provide her name when asked and once restating to call the Dept. of Education.