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

‘NYPL Sings’ Another Kids Record

Here’s a rare instance of bookworms making earworms. NYPL SINGS is the latest album to come out of the New York Public Library (yes, you read that correctly). It’s an upbeat record geared towards kids, but enjoyable for everyone (we’re partial to track 10,”The Library Song”). Each song represents a different way for caregivers to introduce their […]

‘Matter of Instinct’ Barbershop Begins Trimming on Orchard Street

For the ground floor of 122 Orchard Street, the brief foray into a storefront office has concluded. Instead, the space has returned to its previous function as an upscale salon (remember Misin Shin?). Matter of Instinct debuted on the block, just north of Delancey Street, last week. The masculine man haunt boasts plenty of wood, […]

‘Yaf Sparkle’ Closes its Original Orchard Street Store

Yaf Sparkle just vacated its five-year-old store on Orchard Street. This had been the flagship for the jewelry store until last Feburary when it expanded below the Delancey Divide. You’ll recall that Yaf Sparkle opened at 249 Broome Street in what was formerly a Chinese laundromat (Sun Kwong). Retail is now consolidated; this is now […]

Drill Rig Spotted Outside Future 700-Foot Towers Behind Lands End II

Let the drilling begin. The enormous development behind Lands End II might be in a holding pattern, but things are hearing up. It is here that L+M Partners and the CIM Group hope to construct a 68-story residential building comprised of two towers. A token Davey Drill vehicle was spotted curbside on South Street last weekend. […]

Extra Butter Teams up with Adidas for Sneaker Pop-Up on Stanton Street

Thanks to Extra Butter and Round Two, Hell Square is now attracting sneakerheads and street-style seekers. Tapping that enthusiasm, the newish owners of 101 Stanton Street plugged the recent vacancy of Ma Non Troppo with an Adidas pop-up shop. The store is essentially a stunt to sell the new collaborative “Extra Butter x Adidas” sneaker. […]