A normally calm Police Commissioner William Gross exploded in anger at a City Hall press conference today, implying that last night's quintuple shooting had something to do with judges who have granted prisoners and people awaiting trial early releases because of Covid-19 concerns.
Gross provided no specifics tying the shootings - plus another shooting and stabbing in Newmarket Square around the same time - to released prisoners or people awaiting trial, but told reporters assembled at City Hall to "use common sense." He said that because the investigations into both incidents remain open, he couldn't comment anyway.
Gross said the releases have sent a message to "gangbangers," murderers, child rapists and others that they can get away with anything, and that an increase in shootings of late shows they are acting on that. "The mentality on the street is you can do whatever you want."
He said judges need to use common sense as well, that you just can't release people from structured programs, not fully rehabilitated, onto the streets. He challenged judges who release violent criminals: If you feel so comfortable, let them stay in your house.
Gross has made similar objections to such releases before - as has Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins - but not with today's vehemence.