Tag Archives: Far Rockaway

Elderly man falls to death from 12th-floor Far Rockaway balcony

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

An 84-year-old man fell to his death from a 12th-floor balcony in Far Rockaway Sunday night, according to authorities.

At about 9:57 p.m., police responded to a 911 call about a man in need of help in the back of 76-00 Shore Front Pkwy. Upon arriving, cops found the victim unconscious and unresponsive with trauma to the head and body, police said.

Emergency personnel responded to the site and pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Police later determined the elderly victim – whose identity is pending family notification – was on the 12th-floor balcony at the Shore Front Parkway address before falling off.

The investigation is still ongoing.


Death of woman who got butt injections in Far Rockaway ruled a homicide

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/Property Shark

The death of a 34-year-old Maryland woman, who earlier this year died after a butt injection procedure went wrong in Far Rockaway, has been ruled a homicide, according to the city chief medical examiner.

Kelly Mayhew was found unconscious and unresponsive on May 30 in the basement of a residence located on Dickens Street, police said. She was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

According to Julie Bolcer, director of public affairs for the office of the chief medical examiner, the cause of death was systemic silicone emboli due to cosmetic silicone injections of the buttocks.

Mayhew and her mother reportedly went to the home’s basement apartment to receive butt injections from an unlicensed technician. Mayhew then had a bad reaction and became unconscious.

As the victim’s mother called 911, the technician, who allegedly rented the site and had women coming day and night, reportedly ran off in a gray SUV and is still at large.

According to published reports, the technician is thought to currently be overseas.


15-year-old girl dead after Far Rockaway shooting

| asuriel@queenscourier.com


Updated Sept. 13, 5:10 p.m.

A 15-year-old girl is dead after being shot in the head in a Far Rockaway apartment on Friday, according to authorities.

Police were called at 12:03 p.m. after Wilta Wordsworth was shot in the head in her apartment on Collier Avenue.

EMS responding to the scene transported the teen to St. Johns Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries early Saturday morning, police said.

Two 15-year-old male suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting, and have been charged with manslaughter, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence.

Police did not release the names of the two young men because they are underage, nor any details on the circumstances of the incident.

The investigation is ongoing.


Pols announce construction of new library in Far Rockaway

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dominick Totino Photography

Elected officials gathered at the Queens Library at Far Rockaway on Wednesday to announce that the $29.75 million project to completely rebuild the structure is underway.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilman Donovan Richards secured more than $6 million in capital funding for the project and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz added more than $21 million over several years. Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Mayor Bill de Blasio also contributed funding to rebuild the 47-year-old library at 1637 Central Ave.

“Libraries make a difference in the lives of many New Yorkers, and this City Council is proud to support the Queens Library in their plans to rebuild and improve the Far Rockaway branch,” Mark-Viverito said. “From serving as a hub for education, communal activity, and access to services, to providing Internet access for those who don’t have it at home, libraries are a pillar of communities across the five boroughs.”

The accompanying teen library annex located on Cornaga Avenue and Beach 20th Street will act as the temporary location when the structure is demolished in the fall. The library will reopen in 2019.

According to a statement from Snohetta, the architecture firm responsible for the new design, the exterior will be made up of colored glass with a gradient resembling the sky off the Long Island coast.

Far Rockaway library rendering

The new library will feature separate children’s, teen and adult library spaces on two levels, accommodate community meetings, include literary services and encourage after-school study. The library will also offer job skills training services, and career and entrepreneur resources for community members.

“The Far Rockaway library is a necessary and vital element of our community that provides necessary resources that help residents find employment, study for exams and learn new skills,” Richards said. “A new fully loaded library will help our neighborhood reach that next level as we continue to bring in added resources and opportunities to ensure our residents acquire the essential tools for success.”

To celebrate the announcement, the Queens Library hosted a book bag giveaway that day and provided 300 students with book bags for the upcoming school year.

The Queens Library at Far Rockaway played an important role in the area’s recovery following Hurricane Sandy, providing a place for residents to receive supplies like bottled water, food and batteries. Though there was no heat or light at the library for several days, people gathered at the makeshift relief center for information and help.

“The Far Rockaway community depends on their public library for so many things: technology access, job readiness services, small business resources, educational materials and programs for all ages,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, interim president and CEO of Queens Library. “They have long outgrown the current facility. Now, thanks to the generous support of Borough President Melinda Katz, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council member Donovan Richards and Assembly member Phillip Goldfeder, a new, state-of-the-art library is on its way.”


Teen dies after being shot blocks from where brother was murdered in Far Rockaway

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A 16-year-old Brooklyn boy has succumbed to his injuries after he was shot in the head only blocks from where his brother was reportedly murdered three years ago in Far Rockaway, police said.

Neshawn Plummer was at Seagirt Avenue and Beach 26th Street at about 8:50 p.m. on Sunday when he was wounded, according to authorities. EMS transported the teen to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where he later died, police said Tuesday night.

According to published reports, Plummer was shot just a few blocks from where his older brother Shawn was fatally gunned down in 2012. That murder remains unsolved.

Police are also still searching for the suspects in the teen’s shooting and have released video footage of two men running from the scene.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


Cops seek suspects after teen shot in Far Rockaway

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Updated 3:22 p.m.

Police have released video footage of two suspects after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head on a Far Rockaway street corner Sunday night.

The victim was at Seagirt Avenue and Beach 26th Street at about 8:50 p.m. when he was wounded, according to authorities. EMS transported the boy to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where he is listed in critical condition.

According to published reports, the victim was shot just a few blocks from where his older brother was fatally gunned down in 2012.

Video footage of the teen’s shooting released from the NYPD on Tuesday shows the suspects — described as adults males — running from the scene.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


Two dead in Far Rockaway house fire

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYScanner

Updated Monday, Aug. 24, 9:06 a.m.

Two people died in a Far Rockaway blaze Sunday afternoon after firefighters had a difficult time reaching the victims due to cluttered conditions in the house, the FDNY said.

The flames broke out at about 1 p.m. on the first floor of the two-story home at 22-60 Cornaga Ave., authorities said. The fire was under control by 2:50 p.m.

According to an FDNY spokesman, firefighters were delayed in their search of the home because of debris they encountered.

In addition to the two deaths, seven firefighters suffered minor injuries and were taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

The identities of the deceased have not been released. The cause is under investigation.


Bicyclist dies after crashing into truck in Far Rockaway

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


A bicyclist was killed Thursday evening after he struck the side view mirror of a U-Haul truck in Far Rockaway, authorities said.

The 61-year-old bike rider was traveling on Bayport Place, in the opposite direction of the one-way street, about 7:20 p.m. when he made a right turn onto Augustina Avenue and struck the driver’s side mirror of a Ford U-Haul truck that was at a stop sign.

EMS transported the victims, whose was pending family notification, to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle remained on the scene. There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.


Rockaway pair convicted on murder and kidnapping charges

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Two 29-year-old Queens men have been convicted of second-degree murder and other charges in the brutal April 2012 stabbing death of a man who had begun a relationship with the estranged wife of one of the defendants.

Michael B. Cunningham, 29, of Dickens Street in Far Rockaway, and Damian Husain, also 29, of Beach 64th Street in Arverne, were convicted on July 28 of second-degree murder, second-degree felony murder, first-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Cunningham was additionally convicted of aggravated criminal contempt for violating an order of protection.

Sentencing has been set for Sept. 23. If convicted, both defendants face 25 years to life in prison.

“This was a particularly brutal attack,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “The 27-year-old victim had gashes and puncture wounds all over his body. A jury has spoken and found the two defendants guilty of murder and other charges. A lengthy prison term is more than warranted.”

According to trial testimony, the victim, Albert Robinson, had for six months been in a relationship with a woman who was married to but separated from Cunningham. After Cunningham rammed his car into Robinson’s on Dec. 28, 2011, an order of protection was issued requiring Cunningham to stay away from Robinson. However, Robinson still received a death threat on his cellphone from Cunningham.

On April 4, 2012, the victim left the woman’s house some time after midnight. Video surveillance in the area showed a man exiting the woman’s home and moments later being chased by a person on foot as well as by someone driving a dark-colored car. The men became entangled in a struggle just before moving out of view of the surveillance camera.

Robinson’s body was found some time after 11 a.m. that day off the shoreline of Jamaica Bay. He had been stabbed in multiple places, including his neck and chest, and had multiple punctures in his internal organs, including his lung, diaphragm and an artery. A glove found at the scene tested positive for Robinson’s blood and Husain’s skin cells. Robinson’s blood was also found on the backseat of Cunningham’s car.



Queens Village street to be named after slain police officer

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Queens Village street will be renamed to honor Det. Brian Moore, who was shot and killed this May while on plainclothes patrol.

Moore, who was an officer in the 105th Precinct, was in an unmarked police cruiser on the night of May 2 when he stopped Demetrius Blackwell for acting suspiciously. Blackwell allegedly motioned to his waist as if concealing a firearm. When Moore pulled up to Blackwell, he was shot in the head and face and later died from his injuries; he was posthumously promoted to first-grade detective.

City Councilman I. Daneek Miller sponsored legislation that the City Council passed unanimously last Thursday co-naming the intersection of 222nd Street and 92nd Road as Detective First Grade Brian Moore Way.

“There is consensus within the community that we want to honor those who serve and protect. Detective First Grade Brian Moore was a bright young man and a member of the elite Anti-Crime Unit; he received medals for Excellent Police Duty and Meritorious Police Duty,” Miller said. “Detective Moore’s untimely death shook both our city and our nation. To memorialize his dedication, service and life, we resolve to co-name Detective First Grade Brian Moore Way.”

Moore, 25, made 159 arrests during his time on the force. Thousands of officers from around the country and Canada attended Moore’s funeral on Long Island at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford on May 8.

“It’s not many of us who can say we lived out a dream. But Brian could. He dreamed of being a cop,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said during the funeral. “He had an eye for the street…not even five years on, but he was already in anti-crime, already decorated…we need more like him.”


Private investigator, father and son indicted for tampering with witnesses in gun possession case

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


A father and a son, along with a private investigator, have been indicted on charges of soliciting, intimidating and tampering with witnesses in a gun possession case in Jamaica.

Frederick Freeman, 27, of Miller Avenue in Brooklyn, along with his father Frederick Hutcherson, 47, of Beach 27th Street in Far Rockaway, and private investigator Charles Gallman, 52, of Metropolitan Avenue in the Bronx, are charged with 13 counts of bribing a witness, third- and fourth-degree tampering with a witness, third-degree intimidating a victim or witness, fourth-degree criminal solicitation and fifth-degree conspiracy. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.

Freeman is currently awaiting trial for weapons possession after a confrontation at the Jamaica, Queens, apartment of his girlfriend’s brother, Rashown Williams, on Jan. 30, 2013. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

According to the charges in the case, Freeman, Hutcherson and Gallman conspired between Feb. 1, 2015, and April 1, 2015, to bribe and intimidate witnesses due to testify at Freeman’s gun case.

The three defendants allegedly attempted to instill the fear in Williams and his family that they might be physically injured if they testified. It is also alleged that the defendants offered to confer benefits on the potential witnesses if they altered their testimony or refused to appear in court.

“Prospective witnesses must be protected from outside interference that might affect their testimony,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “This office will not tolerate the intimidation of, or tampering with, witnesses and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who engage in such conduct.”


Reputed Rockaway street gang members cuffed for murder, assault plots

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Thirteen alleged members of a Far Rockaway-based street gang found themselves in handcuffs Wednesday for an indictment charging them with various violent crimes including conspiring to murder and assault rival groups, prosecutors announced.

Authorities said the suspects, reputed members of the “70Gs/G-Boyz” gang, operated in an 11 block area of Arverne between Beach 62nd and Beach 73rd streets. According to police, the gang members — some of whom were as young as 16 — obtained weapons and ordered beatings and shootings of rival gang members in an effort to expand their territory and control.

The arrests and indictments were the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the NYPD’s Queens South Violence Reduction Task Force and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigations Bureau. Detectives monitored phone conversations and social media accounts of the suspects — in which the reputed gang members openly planned and bragged about their criminal activities — to build their case.

In one instance, alleged gang member Joshua Simon, 21, took to social media to apologize to an individual whom he accidentally hit with gunfire while shooting at rival gang members on April 13, 2014.

Detectives also learned from Simon, through phone conversations he made from Rikers Island, that he was involved in other shootings with fellow gang members Michael Motta, 23, and Matthew Robinson, 19. Motta was charged in a separate indictment for firing shots at rival gang members outside P.S. 42, then pointing a gun at an officer before eventually dropping it, on March 13 of this year.

“These indictments are another example of police and prosecutors working together to eliminate gang violence that too often plagues our neighborhoods and strikes at the heart of a unified and criminally active group of young people who threaten the lives and safety of innocent bystanders,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

“The defendants are variously accused of turning the streets of Rockaway into the Wild West by acting in concert with one or more of their co-defendants to shoot and wound five individuals and firing weapons at no less than four others,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton added. “Their alleged criminal and violent acts have no place in a civilized society.”

According to the 86-count indictment, the gang members allegedly obtained firearms and carried out violent acts against rival gang members at neighboring housing developments. In many instances, prosecutors said, the adult gang members recruited juveniles as young as 14 years of age to carry out deeds ranging from weapons smuggling to shootings and beatings.

Police also determined that the gang members used coded language in communicating with one another to avoid detection from investigators.

The other suspects named in the 86-count indictment were identified as Taedwon Lyons, 17; Dwayne Lyons, 16; Kane Motta, 16; Ashanti Brown, 18; Isaiah Boyd, 21; Brandon Fuentes, 22; Diequan Underwood, 20; Jordane Maurice Gayle, 16; and Tamar Horton, 16.

Each of the 13 reputed gang members could face up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.


Human remains found in duffel bag on Far Rockaway shore identified

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google maps

Three months after human remains were discovered in a black duffel bag along the Far Rockaway shoreline, police have identified the victim and are investigating the death as a homicide.

The remains, now identified as 26-year-old Westerley Osson, whose address is unknown, were found inside the duffel bag the morning of March 30 near 14-52 Gipson St., according to authorities.

On Wednesday, the medical examiner determined the cause of death to be from homicidal asphyxia, according to a spokeswoman from the office.




Nursing home caregivers arrested for neglect of disabled resident in Far Rockaway

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Three caregivers in Far Rockaway found themselves in handcuffs Wednesday after they allegedly dragged a disabled and bleeding nursing home resident and left him bleeding on the floor for over 20 minutes last October, authorities said.

On the evening of October 23, 2014, at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center a 51-year-old resident, who suffered from multiple debilitating conditions including mental status, fell in front of nurse Esohe Agbonkpolor while in a hallway, according to court papers. After the resident was left lying on his back on the floor for 12 minutes, certified nurse aide Emmanuel Ufot allegedly grabbed the resident by the arm and dragged him into his room.

About 25 minutes later, the resident, wearing only a backless gown pulled over his waist, came out of his room crawling on the floor on his back, bleeding profusely from a wound on the back of his head and another serious wound on his jaw, according to authorities. For the next 20 minutes, Agbonkpolor and another nurse, Funmilola Taiwo, working a few feet away, allegedly ignored the resident on the floor and did not appropriately treat his wounds or try to stop the bleeding.

Instead, Ufot allegedly grabbed the resident by his hospital gown, which was at the time twisted around his neck, and dragged him along the floor and dropped him abruptly in front of his room, authorities said.

The entire incident was caught by hallway surveillance cameras and management at the center turned the video over to authorities.

All three were either terminated or resigned from Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Taiwo, Agbonkpolor, and Ufot were arrested by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit on Wednesday.

“My office will not tolerate nurses who callously fail to treat or endanger injured patients under their care,” said New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “Caregivers must know that we will vigorously prosecute behavior that endangers our most vulnerable citizens. New Yorkers in nursing facilities deserve quality care and their loved ones deserve to know their caregivers act like the professionals they are.”

Taiwo, 34, of Far Rockaway; Agbonkpolor, 39, of Arverne; and Ufot, 36, of Far Rockaway were each charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, and willful violation of health laws.

Each were arraigned in New York City Criminal Court and their cases were adjourned for conference on July 30.


Far Rockaway supermarket robbed at gunpoint

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect in the armed robbery of a Far Rockaway grocery store early Friday morning.

At 2 a.m. the suspect approached an employee at RR Food Store at 552 Beach 25th St., then displayed a firearm and demanded cash, according to authorities. He was able to flee the location with about $300 in cash.

There were no injuries sustained during the robbery.

The suspect is described as a male wearing a black sweatshirt with red trim on the shoulders and sides.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.