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

Hester Street Fair Plugs in with ‘Hesterfest’ Live Show Tomorrow, Featuring 9 Bands

As a part of the fall lineup, the  Hester Street Fair  is bringing “Hesterfest“ to the Lower East Side. It’s the first of four such events this month, and is touted as a day filled with live musical performances, from nine different talented singer/songwriters, punk bands, hip hop acts. There will also be food vendors from around the city (Poke Ono, Red Star Sandwich […]

Frank Franca. Photo: Lori Greenberg.
Frank Franca Discusses the #helloicp Project on the Bowery [INTERVIEW]

About a week ago, we noticed a new installation in the windows of 250 Bowery, aka the future home of the International Center of Photography. The eye-catching #helloicp installation was created by photographer and long time East Village resident, Frank Franca. We decided to meet with Franca and find out more about both the project […]

Fair Warning: ‘The John Lamb’ at the 119 Orchard Hotel Has Nightclub Written All Over it

Like all the hotels in Hell Square, 119 Orchard Street sure took its time. Construction has been terribly slow in recent years, thanks in large part to constant stop-work orders. Five years after SAS Property Management (aka Shimon Avadi) tore down the tenement building, the incomplete hotel at 119 Orchard Street has finally undergone the […]

Rumor: It’s No Deal for Rob Shamlian’s Hell Square Nightlife Empire

Looks like Rob Shamlian isn’t getting out of Hell Square that easy. Reliable sources inform us that the deal for his three marquee establishments in the area completely tanked. You’ll recall that the notorious Shamlian has been trying to ditch Spitzer’s Corner, Fat Baby, and Los Feliz since last January. (The Derby was successfully unloaded to […]

2011-06-19 09.16.20
Uncapped: DG Through the Eyes of ELO

We are changing gears this week. Still graff, but from a very different perspective. Uncapped readers, welcome ELO. She has offered us her version of DG’s beginning in graff and their life together. From her heart to your eyes. Get your tissues ready. For real. BOWERY BOOGIE: ELO, thank you for joining us. As best you can, tell us […]