One year ago today, February 11, Sheepshead Bay residents woke up to the news that a brutal murder had happened on Emmons Avenue and East 27th Street. All that was known was a 54-year-old man was stabbed to death, and a 20-something-year-old man was seen driving away from the location.
We now know that this was just the first incident in the 28-hour murderous rampage of Maksim Gelman.
Gelman dodged police for more than 11 hours after that first killing. In that time, he went to the home of Yelena Bulchenko, who he had supposedly become obsessed with, killed her mother and set up camp until Yelena came home. He then stabbed her to death, bringing the death count to three.
He led police on a 17-hour chase, resurfacing occasionally to stab, maim and carjack anyone who got in his way. It wasn’t until the next morning – 28 hours after the first murder – that he was captured in Manhattan. We spent the day cobbling together news sources, roaming the streets, talking to police officers and documenting the NYPD’s Level 1 Mobilization that brought a seemingly endless parade of police cars from across the city into our neighborhood.
Despite indicating insanity with rambling conspiracy-laden statements, Gelman pleaded guilty in November to murdering four people and wounding four others. His story, hopefully, came to an end less than a month ago, when he was sentenced to 200 years in prison.
We know that many of our readers knew Gelman or his victims. We attempted to reach out to some for a feature to mark the occasion, exploring how his violent, twisted saga had transformed this last, tragic year for them. Each and every one declined to be quoted, a decision we understand and respect.
We offer this space to those and others in the community to reflect on the bloodshed, remember those they’ve lost, and reveal how this violence has transformed their lives.
Today, one year after Maksim Gelman condemned himself through his sick deeds, the thoughts and prayers of those of us at Sheepshead Bites remain with Gelman’s victims and their families.