Tag Archives: Death

Jackson Heights purse-snatching victim dies following assault

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

An alleged purse snatcher who attacked an 80-year-old woman in Jackson Heights last week could face manslaughter charges after the victim died of injuries related to the incident, police reported.

Jordan Vecchio, 32, of Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn reportedly assaulted Jackson Heights resident Celica Londono, 80, while grabbing her purse at the corner of 76th Street and 35th Avenue at 4:40 p.m. on Sept. 5.

According to authorities, Londono was walking with a 92-year-old female relative when Vecchio allegedly approached her, cut Londono’s purse strap and then shoved her to the ground. He reportedly fled the location on foot with the purse.

Eyewitnesses to the incident called 911 and later assisted 115th Precinct officers in tracking down Vecchio following a search and foot pursuit. Londono’s purse, along with the box cutter the suspect allegedly used in the robbery, were recovered by police.

Following the episode, police said, Londono complained of abdominal pain and was brought by paramedics to Elmhurst Hospital. Doctors diagnosed her with a ruptured intestine, and the woman underwent emergency surgery, authorities said.

Complications later set in, and Londono died at Elmhurst Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Following an autopsy, police noted, the Medical Examiner’s office declared her death a homicide resulting from the ruptured intestine sustained after she fell.

Vecchio remains behind bars on charges of second-degree assault and robbery charges as well as additional counts of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property, according to court records.

Additional charges are pending the results of the ongoing investigation, police said.


Students remember Christ the King teacher Richard Hartman

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Christ the King High School

Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village lost a family member last week when faculty member Richard Hartman died on Aug. 13 at the age of 75.

Hartman worked at Christ the King for 10 years and coached the high school’s math team to a number one ranking statewide during the 2012-13 school year, among other achievements. His knowledge was only surpassed by his dedication to his students.

Two of his former students, Joe Pennolino, who will be a senior at Christ the King in September, and Alex Singh, a Christ the King graduate, were with Hartman during his final days and remember him for the unyielding support he gave to everyone who knew him.

“Mr. Richard Hartman was a man of pure brilliance with an unlimited passion for teaching,” Pennolino said. “He was always willing to help and was never too busy to [help] the next student in need of assistance. Though he was taken from us too soon, his love for teaching will never be forgotten.”

Over the years, Pennolino and Singh formed a strong bond with Hartman during the math tutoring lessons he would hold every day at the high school. That bond quickly transformed from one of student-and-teacher to a deep friendship.

“We developed a father-son relationship just because we were always together and anything that I needed or he needed we helped each other out, so we were always there for each other,” Singh said. “We always watched movies together. He would come over on the weekends…he loved game shows.”

Hartman cared for his students so much that he would hold tutoring sessions outside of the school and for students from other high schools in the area. He would be there for anybody who needed his help, the students said.

“His job as a teacher and his dedication to students never stopped…if a student called him and asked him a question he would stop whatever he was doing, wherever he was and make sure he found the answer,” Singh said. “He would always try to be there for the students.”

The dedication and care Hartman had for his students was returned as Pennolino and Singh visited the teacher while he was in the hospital battling cancer.

“The nights Alex and I were at the hospital were very difficult because we watched Mr. Hartman struggle to get better, but we knew how happy he was to see us there,” Pennolino said.

When they learned of Hartman’s death, his former students couldn’t believe the news.

“It was a shock because the day before I saw him and he was walking around the room. He was doing well. I couldn’t believe it,” Singh said. “It was a shock. Everything stopped for two days. I didn’t know what to do.”

“I didn’t understand it until the second or third day that he wasn’t going to be in school anymore,” Pennolino added.

Hartman’s legacy will live on in the students that he cared so much for and all of the people who knew him.


Elderly man found dead at Flushing’s Maple Playground in apparent suicide

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Robert Stridiron

A 74-year-old man was found dead inside Maple Playground in Flushing early Saturday morning after an apparent suicide, police said.

The man’s body was discovered hanging from a piece of exercise equipment at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday in the playground located near Kissena Boulevard and Maple Avenue, authorities said.

The victim’s name has not been released and an investigation is ongoing.


Woman found dead inside Rego Park apartment house

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Property Shark/Christopher Bride

An investigation is ongoing regarding the death of a 40-year-old woman in a Rego Park apartment Monday morning.

Officers from the 112th Precinct were called to the apartment on 63rd Drive near Carlton Street sometime before 8:15 a.m. Monday and discovered the woman in a third-floor unit.

Paramedics responded to the scene and pronounced her dead; her body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.

Her identity was not disclosed by police pending family notification.


Man found dead in vehicle parked on Middle Village street

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com


A 25-year-old Middle Village man was found dead inside a parked vehicle in his neighborhood Friday morning, according to police.

Officers responding to a call of an unconscious male inside a parked car at 8:50 a.m. discovered the man, identified as James Hanrahan, in the vehicle, which was located on 77th Street near Penelope Avenue in Middle Village, authorities said.

EMS units pronounced Hanrahan dead at the scene.

No signs of trauma to the body were found. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is currently ongoing, officials said.


Police investigating death of Kew Gardens Hills man

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Police are investigating the death of a Kew Gardens Hills man who was found with head trauma in the basement of his home Saturday morning.

Officers found the 56-year-old unconscious and unresponsive about 8:40 a.m. at his 77th Avenue house, police said. He had trauma to his head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The medical examiner is determining the cause death, but, according to published reports, police are treating the death as suspicious after the victim was found with a bruise on his forehead and his pants partially removed.

A 21-year-old man, who was found nearby with some of the victim’s possessions, was being questioned, reports said.


Police investigating death of man in Corona

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Updated Sunday, Oct. 12, 8:22 a.m.

Police are investigating the death of a man who was found with head trauma outside a Corona home Friday night.

Amar Amador, 51, was found unconscious and unresponsive by officers at about 11:30 p.m. in front of a Corona Avenue residence near 103rd Street, cops said.

Amador, who lived in the neighborhood less than 10 blocks from where he was found, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His death appears to be consistent with a fall, according to a police source.

The incident is still under investigation, however, and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death and whether any criminality may have been involved.





Middle Village crematorium to commemorate famous people it cremated

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Queens’ oldest crematorium takes a look back at its history this summer with an exhibit that memorializes the many celebrities that have been cremated there.

Fresh Pond Crematory plans on opening the exhibit this summer. The project is lead by the crematorium’s nonprofit corporation president Joseph Peter Troia. Since opening in 1884, the Middle Village establishment has processed celebrities like the rapper Biggie Smalls (full name Christopher George Latore Wallace) and the banker John Pierpont Morgan. Troia wants to commemorate this by establishing a series of pictures and symbolic urns for these people.

“We’re doing this to let people know that [cremation] is an option and that many people have chosen it before,” said Troia, who has been working at the crematorium since 1964 when he started as an office clerk.

With only three furnaces, the crematorium holds about 40,000 people in 16,000 niches. These niches are a crematorium’s version of a plot.

“These are not just ashes,” Troia said. “They’re human cremated remains.” And the layout of the facility reflects this belief. Most of the rooms are lined with these niches and given names like Hall of Serenity and the Gothic Room.

Some other notables that made their last corporeal stop here are John Savage, Lou Gehrig, Ringer Lardner and Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the convicted kidnapper and killer of the infant Charles Lindbergh. All of these people, and more, will be memorialized in the crematorium’s exhibit.

While most of these people don’t have their remains in the crematorium, Anton Seidl, a Hungarian composer who worked with Richard Wagner, is placed high in a huge urn in a room that smells like the Metropolitan Museum, with all its age and history.

The crematorium is located near a highly dense area of cemeteries.

“New York City can only hold so many of our dead in the ground,” he said. “We’re conserving land here.”


Jamaica man arrested in connection to 2012 shooting death

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Police have arrested and charged a man with murder in connection to the 2012 shooting death of 22-year-old Sydney London.

London was found dead in the driver’s seat of his car, with a gunshot wound to the right side of his torso, near Ring Place and 118th Avenue, on April 11, 2012, police said.

Police charged 30-year-old Sekwan Carter, of Jamaica, Friday with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.



Death of Baruch student who died in frat ritual ruled homicide

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News


Updated 4:15 p.m.

The death of a 19-year-old Baruch College student from Queens who was killed in a fraternity hazing ritual has been ruled a homicide, the Luzerne County Coroner Office confirmed Friday.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a freshman at the school, passed away on Dec. 9 from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng died from blunt-force head trauma, the coroner office said.

Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis plans on meeting with the Monroe County district attorney’s office next week to to discuss the coroner’s findings and the next steps in the case, NBC News reported.

Deng, of Oakland Gardens, was one of four pledges who traveled to the Poconos with more than 30 fraternity members the weekend before his death, the district attorney said.

The blindfolded pledges were reportedly forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

Following the incident, the national Pi Delta Psi organization severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach, according to a statement.

Sources in different chapters of the fraternity told The Courier that versions of the ritual are still being carried out, even though it has been banned for at least 10 years due to its dangerous nature.

Pi Delta Psi, a fast growing Asian-interest society, has 20 chapters in the country and four colonies, including Baruch, according to its website.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Wednesday: A wintry mix this morning will become lighter in the afternoon. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph. Snow and ice accumulating 1 to 3 inches. Wednesday night: Cloudy early, becoming mostly clear after midnight. Low near 20. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.


The North Presbyterian Church of Flushing and Resilience NYC Meetup will host a free screening of climate change documentary “Do the Math” from 7-9 p.m. Following the screening, there will be a facilitated discussion about how to make our neighborhoods more sustainable and resilient. A resource guide with links to existing NYC programs will be provided. The Church is located at 25-33 154th St. in Flushing. For more information call 212- 319-3750. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Another round of snow, plus sleet, freezing rain target city

For the second time this week, the city is experiencing a bout of nasty winter weather. Read more: The Queens Courier

Cops looking into death of Jamaica 2-year-old

Police are investigating the death of a toddler after he was discovered unconscious at his Jamaica home Tuesday, the NYPD said. Read more: The Queens Courier

De Blasio won’t march in NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Mayor Bill de Blasio will not be marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, deciding to skip one of his city’s signature celebrations because the event organizers refuse to let participants carry pro-gay signs. Read more: NBC New York

NY Assembly Speaker Silver wants to delay Common Core tests

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has called for at least a two-year delay in the use of Common Core-aligned tests for high-stakes decisions about teachers, principals or students.Read more: Fox New York

Philip Seymour Hoffman autopsy results expected Wednesday

The investigation into actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death continues as detectives await preliminary results of an autopsy, which are expected to be released by the Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday. Read more: ABC New York

Cops looking into death of Jamaica 2-year-old

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Police are investigating the death of a toddler after he was discovered unconscious at his Jamaica home Tuesday, the NYPD said.

Officers found the 2-year-old, who police identify as Naizer Reid, unresponsive inside his 156th Street residence about 3:15 p.m., cops said.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

The young boy’s death comes shortly after the death of another 2-year-old, a girl from the Rockaways, who was discovered unconscious in her home Monday night.



Police investigating death of Rockaways toddler

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 4:15 p.m.

A 2-year-old is dead after she was found unconscious with bruising around her mouth in her Arverne home Monday night, cops said.

Officers, responding to a 9-1-1 call, found the girl, Kevasia Edwards, about 11:30 p.m. unresponsive inside her Beach 56th Place residence, police said.

She was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, cops said.

According to the New York Daily News, the child’s mother, who “had a history with the city’s Administration for Children’s Services,” was being questioned.



Maspeth family pushes for safety after fatal accident

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Zoraya B. Torres

Angela Hurtado’s family knows that nothing will bring her back, but they are hoping something will be done to protect other pedestrians. 

Hurtado, 68, was hit and killed while crossing Grand Ave. at 69th Pl. at about 11 a.m. on Jan. 18.

She had been going to play bingo at a local center, according to her daughter, Zoraya B. Torres, who had spoken to her just hours before.

“My mom was a very humble woman, a good-hearted person and a loving mother,” Torres said. “It’s hard to believe that something so horrible could have happened to her.”

It was the last time she would talk to her mother, as a driver in a Mitsubishi Montero swung around the corner to make an illegal left turn, hitting Hurtado, according to the NYPD.

She was rushed to Elmhurst General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Cops arrested the driver, Abel Tinoco, who remained at the scene. Tinoco, 28, was driving with a suspended license, and was charged with aggravated unlicensed operator, police said. His sentence is pending.

But that’s not enough for Torres, who believes more awareness is needed for the intersection.

Just visiting the scene, she noticed other people making the same illegal turn. Torres wants to contact transportation and elected officials to remedy the problem.

“Something needs to be done, because someone else could get hit,” Torres said. “My family is devastated, we are in shock to know that we are not going to see her, or feel her love. I wouldn’t want anybody to go through what we are going through.”

Torres said Hurtado went to church every day. Originally from Ecuador, she moved to America when she was 21 years old and had lived in Queens since.

Hurtado was a former housekeeper for the 3 World Trade Center Marriott Hotel at the time of the 9/11 attacks, but left the building before it was destroyed. She also beat cervical cancer when she was 33.

A wake for Hurtado was held Jan. 21 at Gerard J Neufeld Funeral Home in Elmhurst. On Jan. 22, her body was flown to Ecuador, where she will be buried.

“My mom always would tell us, ‘If anything ever happens to me, I want to go home,’” Torres said. “She asked us to do it, because that’s where her parents are.”



7-year-old boy dies in East Elmhurst fire

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News

A New Year’s Day fire in East Elmhurst left a 7-year-old boy dead and a 13-year-old with second-degree burns, police said.

The blaze broke out about 9 a.m. Wednesday at a home on 90th Street near 31st Avenue, when sparks from a fireplace ignited nearby blankets and pillows, then spread to the furniture, according to the Fire Department. It was under control about an hour later.

The FDNY said the fireplace didn’t have a spark screen and there were no working smoke detectors in the house.

The 7-year-old, identified by police as Christopher Miller, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 13-year-old, who, according to published reports, is his older brother, was taken to Cornell Hospital with second-degree burns, where he was listed in stable condition.

Police said an adult family member suffered smoke inhalation in the fire.

Three firefighters also sustained minor injuries, according to the FDNY.