“The dynamics of gang and drug homicides happen in neighborhoods that typically don’t have a good relationship with law enforcement, so they’re wondering if they can trust the police to share any information they may have,” said Anthony Braga. , a professor of criminology at the University of Pennsylvania.
In the Bronx, Lieutenant O’Toole said, officers have noticed much more reluctance to speak to the community, a phenomenon he attributes to state discovery laws.
“It’s not for lack of trying,” Lieutenant O’Toole said of the number of unsolved murders. “We don’t get much help from the community.”
To Ms. Sanchez, a lot of that sounds hollow. Her son was not known to the police as being affiliated with any gang or drug activity. His shooting was clearly captured on video. And the man who pulled the trigger wasn’t wearing a mask. The gunman’s face, fully visible on video footage, chases her.
In the weeks after Mr. Lewis died, Mrs. Sanchez and her husband, Joseph Trinidad, were patient. Police said they identified a suspect within hours, but they wouldn’t release his photo for fear of driving him out of New York, Ms. Sanchez said. As the months went on, she and her husband grew frustrated with the lack of progress.
Between each monthly balloon release, a tough question arises: What if the call never comes?
Mr. Lewis spent most of his short life in the Bronx, most of it on Bainbridge Avenue, where he lived with his parents and two younger brothers. A prankster with a big appetite, he was known for calling – not texting – friends and family, and for his fiercely protective nature.
After his death, neighbors told stories of Mr. Lewis escorting women and children home. A friend said that Mr. Lewis often paid for a car to take her to and from her night job so she didn’t have to walk to a bus stop alone.