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charles pena ripby Berenice “The Abbott”/BZA: Serious crime scenes are some sobering shit & I wasn’t even drunk yet. In fact, I was damn near dehydrated, an unexpected part of my plan to walk all of Liberty Avenue in BK, starting at City Line & heading west. I was about to hit the bodega for water & maybe a banana when I saw it scrawled across the wall on the southwest corner of Ashford: RIP Lil’ Charlie. Then I noticed the memorial arranged around the stop sign where I stood &, on the wall to my left, the mural marking the spot where this smiling Puerto Rican man was stabbed to death early on July 5. Most of ya’ll heard or read the brief story in passing & paid it little mind, as I did not either until today. But thstill in east new yorkere it is: Lil’ Charlie was much loved. According to reports, at around 2:20 AM, three men were stabbed— two in the chest, one in the lower back— in the course of some sort of dispute, including Charles Peña, of nearby Warwick Street, who was pronounced DOA at Brookdale Hospital. As far as I can tell, no newspapers*, radio or tv stations or blogs have followed up this story, either on the ground in East New York or with the 75th Precinct directly. Brookdale might as well be called Brooknam & any updates would be welcome.

* Junius Van Sinderen, Ombudsman, adds: The July 6 Daily News did add these details: “Charles Peña bled to death and two friends— J.R. Hines, 18, and Anthony Modesta, 17—were in critical condition after being jumped by a gang of eight men on Ashford and Liberty Sts. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, at 2:20 a.m., relatives said.” Huh? Bed-Stuy?! It’s not even an adjacent neighborhood, nor an adjacent precinct; Ozone Park, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, Canarsie & New Lots are all closer, not to mention Brownsville &, beyond that, Ocean Hill. Compared to the sorrow of Charles Peña’s friends & family— & the reality that his killer remains at large— vast errors of geography are a minor point but it does make one question the veracity of all other statements. Caveat lector.

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