Keila Torres Ocasio: The Bad Guys Are Not Afraid

CT Post columnist Keila Torres Ocasio, a city resident and mother, issues a call to action to Bridgeport residents. In her latest column, following the shooting of a three-year-old girl on the West Side, Keila provides a sobering assessment of violent crime in the city and urges citizens to work with police; say something when you see something. Too often people are afraid to cooperate for fear of being labeled a snitch. From Keila:

… There’s just simply too much violence.

And nothing is stopping it.

In January, when 14-year-old Justin Thompson was shot on the other side of the city on Seaview Avenue, people took action. They had evening rallies. They planned teen nights. They organized community forums. The City Council discussed putting in place a curfew.

But then the events and action tapered off. Yet the shots of the gun-wielding criminals got louder and bolder.

March 12: A man is shot on Park Avenue about 1:30 p.m.

March 21: A midday shootout breaks out around 3 p.m. on Lincoln Avenue. No one was hit, but one bullet narrowly missed an innocent man sitting in a pickup truck nearby.

March 29: Robert Moales is shot to death shortly before noon as he left Junco’s grocery store at Kossuth and Maple streets.

April 24: Two men are shot near the Greene Homes on Washington Avenue, one leaving a trail of blood along the sidewalk.

April 27: A man is shot just after 11 a.m. while walking into a Citgo gas station on Reservoir Avenue.

Monday, the shots rang out in broad daylight. A small girl crossing the street took the bullet.

It’s time, Bridgeport. Consider this your call to action.

It’s time people stop being afraid and start saying something if they see something. It’s time to work alongside police.

The bad guys are not afraid. They are not afraid to put the city’s children in danger.

It’s time to make the criminals afraid of us.



  1. Bridgeporters, the time to stop hiding in the shadows is now.
    The illusion we are all safe is a sham. It is time to unite. If the politicians won’t do it, than we as a people shall do it now. We have a right to safety. We have a right to protect our kids. And we have a right to do it without guns.
    Please let us unite now!

  2. I always call the cops when I see something. Whether it’s a party that is getting loud and out of hand or a prostitute who brings her clients on the street. They have to get the message, not in our neighborhood. But I have to ask, why aren’t state troopers down here helping? They’re having this big push to ticket people for speeding, while we have people getting shot in the middle of the day during a gang war. How about you send us 10 state troopers to patrol the streets and help cover this city?

  3. The bad guys are not afraid? Yes they are. For one, they are afraid of “snitching” to quote Hector A. Diaz in labeling people who cooperate with law enforcement officials. It’s not nice to walk around with an ‘S’ on your chest. They are afraid of going to prison or ending up in a grave. The 20 year old who was shot in the arm in the same incident where the 3 year old was shot has been shot at three times so far. Several months ago he was shot on Pine Street and Bostwick Avenue area, his friend Terik wasn’t so lucky and died from a head wound. It seems like this 20 year old is afraid of snitching. Perhaps he thinks he can avenge his friend’s murder by retaliating. He seems to forget there is a flip side to the coin. He is a witness to a murder and the shooters hunting him down know dead people can’t talk. This young man doesn’t seem to understand he won’t get his revenge if or when he is killed.

    Let’s talk about the snitch label. It is believed by many that snitching is a sin, especially if one is likely to one day end up in jail or prison. Prison has three types of inmates: liars, snitches and the innocent. Let me give the OIB readers an example. Hector A. Diaz, a member of the Democrats, gets into a shootout with rival Republicans and a little girl is shot in the crossfire. Hector A. Diaz is fingered by Joel Gonzalez who witnessed the shooting. To Hector A. Diaz, Joel Gonzalez is a snitch. After months of denying having shot the young girl and having an alibi, Hector A. Diaz agrees to a plea and admits his guilt. What’s wrong with this picture? Is Hector A. Diaz not a snitch himself when he agreed to tell on himself? Did Hector A. Diaz not go from being a liar to a snitch? He sure as hell wasn’t innocent! I’d say 99% of people in prison are snitches, liars or both. So what’s the fear of ‘fessing up and telling the truth? I never heard of anyone serving time after confessing or pleading guilty being called a snitch. Why not? Don’t you think if someone snitches on themselves, he or she is very likely to snitch on you? Let me tell you folks what a real lying snitch is like. Joel Gonzalez sells weed on a certain spot. Across the street from Joel’s weed spot Lennie Greenmaldi sells weed too and the customers seem to prefer Lennie’s weed better. On several occasions, Joel calls the Narcotics and Vice tipline and tells them Lennie Greenmaldi is selling weed, crack and heroin. He tells them Lennie Greenmaldi is dangerous, carries guns and is known to sell guns too. One day, Lennie is raided and is busted for possession with intent to sell weed. Now Joel Gonzalez, the lying snitch, has the spot all to himself.

  4. *** Keila’s not only a good observing community reporter but also a concerned voting taxpayer who sees the graffiti on the wall and realizes everyone must get involved one way or another to send a message, the city of Bpt. will not tolerate senseless crime in our neighborhoods! The pressure must be put on city and state government representatives to come up with a “continued plan” on dealing with the gangs, drugs and weapons issues that seem to be citywide front-page news in 2012. *** TAKE BACK OUR CITY, ONE NEIGHBORHOOD AT A TIME ***

  5. I posted about this gang issue over a year ago and it fell on deaf ears. The truth is the city has been sweeping this gang issue under the rug for nearly two years. Our murder rate would be a lot higher if it were not for the trauma unit at Bridgeport Hospital.

    These young thugs shot at cops on the Fairfield/Stratford Ave Bridge in broad daylight and have been a growing nuisance ever since. There is a total disregard for human life and for law enforcement. Keila Torres did a great job capturing the escalating violence. Hopefully, the correct joint approach to this ailment can be put in place, summer is coming soon.

    I agree at some point residents should do their equal share. However I cannot blame those who are truly afraid for their safety. You have teens getting arrested for carrying weapons and being released within weeks, and then only to get rearrested for a new weapon. On the flip side, I really have a low tolerance for the “no snitching” culture.

    As someone who works in the prison system with Youth offenders, it is overwhelming how lost this generation truly is. Some of them have carried more guns to school than they have books. Any cure will really take a multifaceted approach with people from all walks of life.

    1. The harsh reality is we are in trouble. We fight the wave of gang violence and once the threat seems to subside we forget to rebuild or add capital to our community. We missed the boat with this crop after cleaning up in the early ’90s.

      This wave is more reckless than the last. Hopefully once this is cleaned up, we will give our children better opportunities by giving them positive outlets.

    1. It would be a great idea if you watch Lennie Greenmaldi’s block. Chopping a couple of trigger fingers off would last longer and be more effective than a block watch. Lets take a vote! a) Block watch or (b)Trigger finger chop.

  6. One of the most effective ways to deal with street crime is by reaching out to the community. Most if not all the residents in low-income neighborhoods have disdain or antipathy for the police department, both of which are more than a little justified. It would behoove the BPD to do more in the way of community outreach, make the residents allies, not adversaries. No one interviewed by the local media accepts the fact armed youth are shooting up the neighborhood. But the culture of “stop snitching” has made it impossible for them to really do anything. Gang-bangers are gunning for the 20 year old who was shot in the hand. The job will be finished in due time. The little girl was and is an innocent victim of the violence. I hope the cops make life extremely uncomfortable for the street gangs in this city until one of them drops coin and gives up the shooters.

  7. In the ’90s we had two outstanding individuals. I recall as Chief Thomas Sweeney and Deputy Chief Hector Torres. No bullshitting around with those guys and they were nice guys and approachable to boot. I hope the current regime can do an equal job.


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