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Crime Watch, July 2008

July 3, 2008

Corrections Officer Shot

An off-duty corrections officer was shot several times and seriously injured near his Mount Hope home, in the early hours of June 13.

Jerome Batchelor, 39, was shot on Walton Avenue near 176th Street, close to the Key Food supermarket, after getting into an altercation with two men. Batchelor, who works at Bellevue Hospital prison ward, returned fire, police said. It’s not known if his attackers were hit.

Batchelor was taken to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital with wounds to the arms and buttocks. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

Investigators told the Daily News that Batchelor knew his attackers and may have had an earlier dispute with one of them. So far there have been no arrests, said a police spokesman on June 30.


Dogfighting Ring Smashed

A “lucrative” dogfighting ring has been broken up, police and animal welfare officers say, following a raid on 108 E. 179th St. Seven people were arrested, including the alleged ringleader Alexander Estephane, who lives in the three-story house with his wife and three children.

Sixteen pit bulls were rescued, according to Richard Gentles, a spokesperson for the city’s Animal Care and Control Center. Some of the dogs “had bite marks on their legs, face and neck,” Gentles said. One later died from its injuries.

Dogfighting paraphernalia – included weigh-in scales and syringes – was also seized in the June 14 bust, along with $1,847 in cash.


One local resident, who didn’t want her name printed, said it was common knowledge that Estephane (known locally as Fred) was into dogfighting. “Everyone knows that,” she said, adding that the fights had been going on at the house for at least eight years.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, dogfighting attracts heavy gambling, with dog owners and spectators routinely betting thousands of dollars on fights.

“It was lucrative, it was big money,” said Sergeant Turner of the 46th Precinct Community Affairs, speaking after the raid. “We hope it will send a message to others who inhumanely treat animals for profit” that they won’t get away with it.

Police say Estephane kept the dogs in the backyard, but staged the fights in the basement, in a specially built 9 foot by 9 foot pit.

Acting on a tip-off, police raided the house and rounded up the men while a fight was in progress.

A local man, Robinson Fernandez, told the Daily News that people were too scared of the dogs and their owners to call the police. But the resident this reporter interviewed said people’s silence was due to ambivalence, not fear.

“People don’t really care about pit bulls,” she said. “And everyone kind of minds their own business around here.” She said Estephane, the ringleader, was a “nice guy” who takes good care of his kids.

Those arrested are being charged with dogfighting – a felony – and gambling offenses. They face up to a year in jail. Estephane, 44, faces additional charges, police said.

Gentles said that some of the rescued pit bulls may be suitable for adoption, but that others “may have to be euthanized, because they’re bred for fighting and may be too aggressive to adopt out.”



2 Responses to “Crime Watch, July 2008”

  1. Protesters Say Dogfighting Is the Pits : Mount Hope Monitor on October 5th, 2009 11:37 am

    [...] men were arrested in June 2008, when police raided a suspected dogfighting ring at a house on East 179th Street near Morris Avenue. Sixteen pit bulls were rescued, though one died [...]

  2. Jail for Dogfighting Ringleader : Mount Hope Monitor on April 5th, 2010 2:24 pm

    [...] Related articles: Protesters Say Dogfighting Is the Pits Dogfighting Ring Smashed [...]

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