Memorial Grows for Columbia Street Shooting Victim Raphael Ward

Posted on: January 7th, 2013 at 6:28 am by


Audible sobbing, burning wax, and the soundtrack of passing vehicles and subway trains on the Williamsburg Bridge. Such is the makeshift memorial site for the fallen sixteen-year-old, Raphael Sadonte Ward. His life cut short on Columbia Street this past Friday evening.

It’s an outpouring of love and grief in an open plaza – the sunkissed strip-mall setback at the base of the Masaryk Towers. Some one hundred candles of varying sizes are arranged to form a heart, while a small box carries trinkets, stuffed animals, candy bars, and baseballs. There are goodbye notes and condolences scrawled everywhere, further encouraged by the placement of Sharpies and writing surfaces.


Denizens of the housing complexes nearby stopped to pay respects, flooding the memorial site for the better part of yesterday.

The New York Post cites police reports that allege Ward was murdered for his $600 Marmot parka. He took a fatal bullet to the chest outside the DeWitt Reformed Church and stumbled into the Tearedhan bodega down the block. The gunman is described as 5-foot-6, 120 to 140 pounds, and wearing a dark wool hat and a ski mask.


Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer made the following statement in response to the shooting:

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Raphael Ward and my thoughts and prayers are with his family. The Lower East Side has seen an increase in gun violence in recent months, most apparent within or near NYCHA developments, and we must redouble efforts to make our neighborhoods safe. My office allocated funds for security cameras for Baruch Houses in 2012 but only initial steps have been taken to install them. In the coming days I will be reaching out to NYCHA to expedite the installation of these cameras, which must no longer be delayed.

And State Senator Daniel Squadron had the following to say:

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Raphael Ward. No parent should ever have to face the unspeakable tragedy of losing a child.

We must continue to work together as a community to fight the scourge of gun violence and make our homes and our streets safer for our families. From stronger gun laws to improved safety at NYCHA developments, we are reminded far too often that the time to act is now.

Recent Stories

Site of Mass Displacement: A Chinatown Gentrified by Galleries [Op-Ed]

The following was written by Liz Moy of the Chinatown Art Brigade. There is an ongoing perception that Manhattan’s Chinatown has stayed relatively the same throughout the years whilst other low-income neighborhoods of color have been overtaken by gentrification. Ask someone how Chinatown fares in an increasingly unaffordable city and they’ll likely say, at least […]

Matthew Silver, the 2014 Mr. Lower East Side
Off Cycle ‘Mr. Lower East Side Pageant’ Returns Tomorrow Night … in Ridgewood

Surprise! The Mr. Lower East Side Pageant returns tomorrow night, some four months earlier than usual. Unlike earlier this year, the iconic underground beauty contest won’t be anywhere near its namesake neighborhood. This time, for the 17.5th annual event, the shenanigans will go down at the Footlight Bar in Ridgewood, Queens. You’re probably wondering about the off-cycle nature […]

2nd Annual ‘Lower East Side Cider Fest’ is Happening on Sunday

The orchards are, in fact, coming back to Orchard Street … albeit temporarily. With apple picking season wrapping up, the 2nd annual Lower East Cider Fest is kicking off this weekend, as part of the larger “Cider Week NYC” celebration happening throughout the – wait for it – Big Apple. The event will showcase notable cider makers and apple growers […]

Clinton Street ‘Casita’ Tree Tunnel Uprooted for Good

The arboreal attraction (and known rat hangout) at the southeast corner of Clinton and Stanton Streets is officially kaput. That’s right, no more tree tunnel. A chainsaw crew arrived last week to chop and uproot the leaning line of trees comprising the overhang. This was a complete removal, unlike the trim of overgrowth that transpired […]

Delancey Street Gets its First LinkNYC Kiosk

Yesterday afternoon, the city unveiled the first LinkNYC pornhub kiosk for Delancey Street. It’s situated just east of the Bowery, where these things are multiplying faster than gizmo in a swimming pool. The 9-foot-6-inch unit is not yet active, though. LinkNYC stations have been criticized pretty much from the get-go. In league with the soulless […]