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The more than 50 people shot over a bloody Fourth of July weekend in the Big Apple included a beloved Bronx neighborhood “grandfather” gunned down by stray bullets.
John Edwards, 62, — who was known as “Grandfather of the Block” in his Belmont neighborhood — was among the at least seven people killed during the outbreak of gun violence
“I knew him since I was 10,” Rachel Sanchez said of Edwards, who died in a friend’s arms after being mortally wounded by a stray bullet in Belmont around 10:30 p.m. on Monday. “We are his family.”
Sanchez, 30, said Edwards was known to locals as the grandfather or godfather of the neighborhood where she grew up — and came back Sunday to pay her respects.
“He sat on that chair every day,” she said. “This was his section. If you needed the pump on, he turned on the pump. If you wanted your car cleaned, he was going to clean your car. If we were grilling and we were too busy to clean the girl, he cleaned the grill. If you had a broken heart, he knew.
“He knew how to make you feel better,” Sanchez said. “He will be missed.
Neighbors said Edwards had tired of the rising crime in the Big Apple and had finally decided it was time to leave his beloved neighborhood — which is now devastated.
“Can’t you see the sadness on the block?” Sanchez asked Tuesday. “My heart ain’t here. You know how many years I’ve known this man? This man was for real.”
In all, 51 people were shot in 36 separate incidents since Friday, a jump over the 32 people shot in 27 shootings over the holiday weekend last year, NYPD statistics show.
Twenty-one of this year’s holiday weekend victims were shot on Independence Day on Monday.