Ebbets Field Apartments Neighbor Faces New Charges Tied to Roaming Brooklyn Building with Knives – NBC New York
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- A Brooklyn arson suspect and notorious “nightmare neighbor” is back in court again, this time on misdemeanor weapons charges linked to carrying long knives around the Ebbets Field apartments, where his longtime black neighbors complained he terrorized them because of their race.
- The judge instructed Attanaso’s Legal Aid defense attorney to refer his 68-year-old client to social work services and inquired about placing him on suicide watch.
- The judge also raised concerns about Attanasso’s conduct in court on Sept. 9, following his recent arrest on a felony hate crime charge for making terroristic threats to kill and burn his Black neighbors. Atanasu pleaded not guilty to all charges against him
A Brooklyn arson suspect and notorious “nightmare neighbor” was back in court Tuesday, this time on misdemeanor weapons charges.
Steven Attanasso is back before a judge on charges related to carrying long knives around the Ebbets Field Apartments, where his black neighbors have long complained that he terrorized them because of their race.
During a hearing the previous afternoon, Criminal Court Judge Jermaine Auguste instructed Attanasso’s Legal Aid attorney to refer his 68-year-old client to social work services and inquired about his placement on suicide watch.
After harassing tenants at the Ebbets Field Apartments for more than a year, the dangerous man was arrested. Melissa Russo reports.
Judge Auguste raised concerns about Attanasso’s conduct in court on Sept. 9, following his recent arrest on a felony hate crime charge for making terroristic threats to kill and burn his black neighbors.
On Tuesday, Auguste also denied a request from Legal Aid attorney Jack Brewer to withdraw Legal Aid from the case and consolidate all of Attonasso’s cases together under a different attorney, who had already been appointed for the more serious hate crime charge. Auguste said she wants the Legal Aid Society to remain on the case for now, because she realizes they have “access to resources” and believes Atanasu will be “well served” by social services.
Police have taken Atanasu to a psychiatric hospital several times since 2022, but his neighbors told the I-Team they were frustrated because each time, he would go home within a day or two with no long-term mental health solution.
Attanasso pleaded not guilty to all charges and remained in jail on Tuesday. On September 11, another Brooklyn judge, Danny Chun, set bail at $50,000 and issued an order barring Attanasso from returning home. Maurice Chamuel, the lawyer representing him on the hate crime and harassment charges, told the judge that his client posed no danger and was the victim of harassment from his neighbors.
New developments in the I-Team’s investigation into a noisy neighbor at the Ebbets Field Apartments in Brooklyn. Despite a year of 911 calls, black tenants were subjected to butcher knives, racist insults, threats, and perhaps even a fatal fire. But the investigation appears to be stalled and the only suspect still lives in the building. Residents say they feel helpless. NBC New York’s Melissa Russo reports.
Neighbors said they were relieved he was out of the building, at least for now.
“I was sleeping next to a fire extinguisher next to my bed,” said Tony Armstrong, one of Attanaso’s neighbors on the 11th floor.
The NYPD says Attanasso is the only suspect in the April 6 fire. Police say a pillow from inside Attanasso’s apartment caught fire in the 11th floor hallway at 77 Sullivan Place. The suspicious fire occurred just three days after a neighbor recorded Attanasso threatening to “turn his black neighbors black.”
Roderick Cooley, a 66-year-old veteran who lived near Atanaso on the 11th floor, died as a result of the fire, according to the New York City Medical Examiner, who ruled Cooley’s death a homicide. To date, Attanasso has not been charged with arson or causing Mr. Cooley’s death. Law enforcement sources say that because no eyewitnesses have come forward, there is not enough evidence to move forward with arson charges.
Black tenants in Brooklyn say they are living amid racism and fear of a man who police suspect of starting a fire three months ago that led to the death of one of their neighbors. News 4’s Melissa Russo reports.
The tenants told the I-Team they were angry because despite calling 911 for a year and turning over numerous recordings of Attanasso’s racist remarks to investigators, they were forced to live in fear alongside Attanasso.
Efforts by the building’s management, Fieldbridge Associates, to evict Attanasso for nonpayment of rent were also unsuccessful. Housing court records indicate Attanasso failed to show up for one hearing.
The I-Team was the first to report Mr. Cooley’s death, the fact that the fire had been declared arson and the death a homicide, the tenant’s long history of calls to 911 for help, the videotaped threats, and the fact that the investigation had stalled. The tenants said it was especially painful to endure racist threats in a house that was supposed to inspire pride and was built on the grounds of Ebbets Field, the place where baseball player Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier.
Following the I-Team’s report, the Brooklyn District Attorney, NYPD and Mayor Eric Adams pledged to refocus the investigation. Adams visited the Ebbets apartments and – accompanied by an NYPD trooper – repeatedly knocked on Attanasso’s door but he was not home.
After the I-Team reports, the NYPD finally hung CrimeStoppers signs in the halls asking any witnesses to the arson to come forward. The I-Team then aired videos showing Attanasso repeatedly ripping off those same marks.
(tags for translation) Brooklyn