Ignoring his worried mother’s advice, a club-goer lingered until closing time at a Manhattan nightspot — and was shot by police after opening fire on several patrons with an untraceable “ghost gun,” police said Monday.
Isamuel Alcantara’s mother, in a series of worried text messages while he was out, told her son to be careful and come home soon. But before the sun rose Monday morning, Alcantara had been wounded by police outside Inwood’s 11:11 Restaurant & Lounge, where cops said he shot four men after a noisy argument got out of hand.
The dispute inside the bar on 10th Ave. near W. 211th St. spilled outside at the 4 a.m. closing time, with bar security trying to diffuse the tensions.
Alcantara, part of a group that had moved about eight feet away while police were speaking to security, allegedly opened fire, hitting four victims, cops said.
A police sergeant took cover behind a utility pole and fired, striking 25-year-old Alcantara in the hip, a police source said. It wasn’t immediately clear if Alcantara fired at police during the chaotic clash.
EMS rushed Alcantara to Harlem Hospital, where he was in stable condition as he underwent surgery. Charges against him were pending.
The men cops say Alcantara shot, ranging in age from 28 to 35, were hospitalized with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.
“Enjoy the best time of your life from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.,” the 11:11 Restaurant & Lounge boasts on its website.
Just hours earlier, at about 1 a.m., Alcantara had traded text messages with his mother, who used to be an auxiliary cop with the NYPD before she was sidelined by health problems, she said.
Her son was visiting the club for the first time,to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
“When you go to find your car, never go alone. Remember, the thieves are always at discotecas,” she texted her son. “Never stay until closing time. I’m here, waiting for you.”
She told him she would leave the door of their Bronx home open for him.
“May god be with you at every moment,” she wrote.
Alcantara’s reply was quick.
“Ok Mami,” he wrote. “Amen.”
At about 5 a.m. she got a call from a friend who had heard from someone else at the party that Alcantara had been shot and wounded by police. She said she didn’t know anything about her son owning a weapon and had no idea what a “ghost gun” was.
“Where did the guns come from?” she said.
Cops who recovered the weapon described it as an unregistered “ghost gun” with no serial number, a type that can be bought online and assembled at home.
The NYPD said the department recovered 150 ghost guns last year, up from 48 in 2019 and only 17 in 2018.
“The people that are out there on the street carrying guns, that are getting caught with guns over and over again, and the message that is being sent to them is that there is no repercussions,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a city council public safety hearing hours after the shooting.
“Whether it’s in a park, whether it’s in a street fair, whether it’s coming out of a nightclub, like last night, 100, 200, 500 people having a great time enjoying themselves, it only takes one person to ruin that. And that’s what we saw again last night, a knucklehead with a gun, not thinking, pulling it out, and now we have multiple shots.”
In August, Francisco Martinez, 38, and Maria Ovalles, 29, were accused in a Manhattan indictment of assembling eight guns from pieces they bought online.
“These defendants turned their apartment into a small-scale gun factory,” Manhattan DA Cy Vance said in a statement at the time. “Ghost guns are no longer an abstract, looming threat — they are here, and we need federal regulation to stop them.”
The Monday shooting didn’t surprise local merchants still reeling from an Aug. 27 double shooting at the same corner. One man, Stephen Turner, 27, was killed and another man was wounded in that shooting.
“Sometimes I get nervous when I see a lot of people in the street, like something’s gonna happen,” said Abdul Saleh, 19, who works at a nearby bodega.
Jose Mejia, 49, who has a sign-making shop next to the bodega, said he is usually on his way home by 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. so he is not as concerned for his own safety.
But he said area bars have been a problem.
“When people go out and they drink, stuff happens,” he said.
But elected leaders and police officials said the bigger problem is the scourge of guns that threaten businesses, families and communities.
“There are so many people in our neighborhood walking with guns. That’s unacceptable,” said Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez as he stood outside the crime scene. “It is not a secret that we are dealing with an epidemic that is taking life away from so many people. Fortunately no one is dead in this shooting. But it’s always a matter of time.”