My brother Daniel Enriquez’s NYC subway death should’ve been a wake-up call
On Sunday, May 22, Daniel Enriquez, 48, a Goldman Sachs researcher, was riding the Q train across the Manhattan Bridge when a man randomly shot and killed him. A suspect, Andrew Abdullah, is now in custody charged with his murder. Griselda Vile, Daniel’s sister, says politicians refuse to admit that their policies are making the city less safe.
I always wonder, at what point will people begin to care about crime and gun violence with urgency? Will it only be if they are a victim of a crime? Or will they care because others had to face it? What has to happen to get the nation moving? Who has to die in order for change to occur?
Our nation’s virtues of life, liberty and property, as well as morality, have been sacrificed to give way to pandering from elected leaders and virtue signaling instead of solutions.
We as a nation cannot be seen occupying any moral high ground if we leave the most vulnerable members of society perpetually unsafe to avoid hurting the sensitivities of depraved hardened recidivists, marauding our streets at all hours and lashing out with impunity.
My worst fears were realized on May 22, when my brother was executed going to brunch in Manhattan from his wealthy and formerly safe neighborhood, Park Slope.
Growing up Mexican, Sundays were always associated with spending time with the family and going to church. For him to die, for no reason, in the middle of a Sunday morning, was a devastating gut punch and the realization that we are on our own.
The no-bail “reform” has opened the crime frenzy for people who are desperate or unethical enough to break the law either for personal gain or to hurt another person. The people who continue to break the law and amass lengthy rap sheets still get released into our neighborhoods to continue living a life of crime. They continue to terrorize the same area as they do not see the consequences, there is no deterrent.
And for those suffering from mental illness, there are not enough resources to rehabilitate them or help them. Deemed unfit for prison, they aren’t treated, but released to strike again.
After my brother’s brutal murder, my phone was full of voicemails from reporters, family and the heartbroken masses of friends of my brother.
Mayor Eric Adams failed to get in touch until the next day and I got the impression that politicians are more annoyed by having to answer questions about the effects of their disastrous policies than at the senseless loss of life.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. My brother loved this city and all that for which it stands. We grew up poor in finances, but rich in determination to make it in America, we were every immigrant that came before us and Daniel had truly achieved the American dream.
My parents are both from a small town in Mexico and while they knew of each other, their love story began in New York City. My older brother was the fruit of their love.
Four of my siblings were born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but the family fled to Southern California when both of our parents were violently mugged. My father, always concerned about the quality of our education, kept moving us around to better school districts. My brother and I enjoyed playing in the orchestra and band. When he was a teenager, he was a member of the Santa Ana Winds and traveled a lot. We would watch him play at parades and graduations.
He worked at many great New York companies, most recently at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he was beloved to his coworkers and managers alike. The fact that he could be taken from us going to a boozy brunch ripped my community in half and resonated with New Yorkers of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
When a person loses a loved one, it is soul-shattering and heart-crushing. Losing my brother was losing the one man in my whole life who protected me and watched over me. Who encouraged me to always be better and appreciate life enough to enjoy living it.
I loved my brother unconditionally and with all my heart. He was not just my brother, he was like a father, a dear friend and life mentor. Daniel studied many languages before entering college and spoke basic Italian, French and German. He had a voracious appetite to read as much as he could. He enjoyed traveling to Spain and Mexico to complete our family’s genealogy and managed to learn how to read historical religious documents as well as connect our ancestors to southern Spain and on the ships of Christopher Columbus.
If you were his friend on Facebook, you often watched videos of his garden or koi pond — which he meticulously curated and maintained.
He was fun and funny. He could always make you laugh or smile and he always knew something about everything. He could talk with just about anybody. I always made my friends meet my brother for dinner or at a party. I always wanted my brother to give me the seal of approval and I wanted my friends to know that my brother was important to me.
Daniel worked so hard all his life; he lived in Park Slope with his partner and was successful. None of that matters on the streets though. A person will look at you and judge you. A person can look at you and in a second decide to end your life instantly without remorse and, now we know, without real consequences.
My brother sat in that subway train oblivious of the danger that lurked. He was probably listening to music with his headset. His life was cut short two years shy of his 50th birthday. My brother worked his whole life and never got to retire or finish his American dream.
He died, like so many before — and like so many who will continue to die at the hands of politicians and lawyers.
We shouldn’t live in a nation where we feel so unsafe we have to collect guns, get training and then plan to use it for protection. Crime has become so normalized that our children are desensitized and ignore it at their own peril. This is unacceptable.
Communities suffered long enough under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s lack of regard to property, the law and human life, and under Adams, it is not improving, but getting worse. Shockingly, some argue that the problem is the perception of crime, not that crime has increased. My family is proof this is a lie. All New Yorkers are at risk.
New York has always been a difficult place to make it, and the people who did worked incredibly hard and made all the right decisions. In a sane world, the rule of law favors those that do not break it, and people who were sustaining the city through works, deeds and taxes could feel safe enjoying the fruits of their labors in the greatest city in the world.
For a long time, I feared this system was being corrupted by the progressives whose idea of equity is hell for everyone. Cops were told to stand down while politicians like Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins have their knives out for them.
We formerly held the belief that our elected officials held out best interests at heart, but the pandemic pulled back the curtain. We are currently living through a pandemic of censorious top-down rule.
Historic crime increases have been unleashed by bureaucrats that are more interested in silencing dissent than ensuring public safety.
The man arrested for killing my brother has prior arrests for assault, robbery, menacing and grand larceny. If he had been incarcerated or in treatment for previous incidents, my brother would still be here. He would be attending my daughter’s Sweet 16.
I wish this on no one. I wish his death had made a bigger impression on the people of New York City that it would bring change.
But it seems like the only thing that might shake these craven politicians into alertness is voting them all out.