Tag Archives: jamaica

Jamaica man convicted of shooting cop

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photos

A Jamaica man could face a lifetime behind bars after being found guilty Thursday of shooting a police officer nearly three years ago, prosecutors announced.

Jurors convicted John F. Thomas, 27, of 109th Avenue, of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated assault on a police officer, assault on a police officer, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. Justice Gregory Lasak, who presided over the trial, ordered Thomas to return to court on July 29 for sentencing.

The defendant faces up to 40 years to life in prison, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

According to authorities, Thomas shot Sgt. Craig Bier in the vicinity of 107th Avenue and Union Hall Street in Jamaica at 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2012. Bier, who was patrolling as part of an anti-gang unit, had approached Thomas seconds earlier.

After Bier displayed his shield and identified himself as an officer, Thomas began to run, and the officer pursued him. Upon being blocked by a fence, authorities said, Thomas pulled out a firearm and shot the officer once in each leg.

Bier was treated for his injuries at Jamaica Hospital and released two days later. Thomas turned himself in nearly a month later.

“This was a senseless, violent act and once again illustrates how dangerous police work is,” Brown said in a statement. “The defendant has shown he has no regard for authority and is a menace to society. He will be locked behind bars for a very long time.”


Disco legends Village People to perform at Resorts World Casino

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Resorts World Casino

South Ozone Park will welcome a group of macho men this weekend that let everyone know in the 1970s that it was fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.

For one night only, Resorts World Casino, located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. will present the legendary disco band Village People on Saturday from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

The six-man group, which is considered one of the most influential disco icons of all time, will hit the stage to perform their beloved hits such “Macho Man,” “Y.M.C.A.,” and “In the Navy.” The band is known for their costumes that range from a Native American to a police officer.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the show, which is for guests 21 years old or over, and tickets start at $25. Tickets can be purchased online here or at the Resorts World Casino gift shop.


Jamaica woman pleads guilty to defrauding undocumented couple out of $25K: DA

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A 49-year-old Jamaica woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to grand larceny after she falsely promised an undocumented couple state driver’s licenses and permanent residence cards, taking $25,000 in the process, prosecutors said.

Bibi Nandalall, identifying herself as “Theresa,” first met with the couple in October 2012, and lied to them about working for the state Department of Motor Vehicles, according to the district attorney’s office.

Nandalall told the couple she could provide them legitimate New York State driver’s licenses if they filled out paperwork and paid her cash. The next month, she told them they were eligible for U.S. residency and needed to pay her additional money for fingerprints to complete the paperwork.

After paying Nandalall a total of $25,000 in cash, they received two forged notices of U.S. citizenship and immigration services applications and two U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services biometric appointments, where they would be fingerprinted, photographed and provide an electronic signature, prosecutors said.

But when they showed up to the appointments, they were not scheduled and there was no record of any applications in their names.

As part of Nandalall’s third-degree grand larceny plea on Tuesday, the judge is expected to order her to make $25,000 restitution to the couple at her sentencing on June 29. She should also receive four months in jail and five months’ probation.

“The victims in this case strove to become part of the American Dream. They worked hard and saved their money and gave it to this defendant in the hopes of gaining legal status in this country,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “Instead, they were defrauded by the defendant. The sentence to be meted out by the court is appropriate in that it will make the victims financially whole and punish the defendant for taking advantage of these vulnerable victims.”



Rents in two Queens nabes rose faster than city average: report

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre. Charts courtesy Community Service Society

Maybe “the rent is too damn high” in New York City.

Rents throughout the five boroughs rose 32 percent between 2002 and 2014, according to a report released Monday by the Community Service Society, an organization that tackles the issue of poverty in New York.

The study is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and was created to “shed light on the important housing issues facing the New York State Legislature this year,” the report said.

Namely those issues are the expiring laws for rent regulation and the 421-a tax abatement, which currently fosters some affordable housing by giving developers tax breaks for 20 percent of low-income units in their projects. The state has a deadline until June 15 to renew the laws and make reforms.

The analysis of the past dozen years shows that two Queens neighborhoods surpassed the citywide average. Rents jumped 36 percent in Astoria and 35 percent in Jamaica in 12 years, the study said.

Surprisingly, Long Island City and Ridgewood weren’t over the citywide average although rent rates have changed dramatically in those areas as well.

The rental information for different neighborhoods was collected from tenants who have recently moved.

“In order to sensitively assess the changing state of the housing market in different neighborhoods, CSS focused on the rents being paid by tenants who have recently moved,” the report said. “This eliminates the tendency of lower rents paid by longtime tenants to smooth out market changes and mask the changes that affect tenants who are looking for a place to live.”

During the 12-year period, rents in Central Harlem rose 90 percent and those in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn rose 63 percent, making them the neighborhoods where rent rose the most citywide, according to the report.


Suspect wanted for cellphone store robberies in Jamaica, Maspeth

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo/Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a 30-year-old man wanted in connection to two robberies of Queens cellphone shops in the last two months.

On May 26 at about 6:25 p.m., the suspect — armed with a black firearm — entered the Metro PCS store located at 126-14 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica and demanded property, police said. He then took $600 and a victim’s cellphone before fleeing the site. There were no reported injuries.

On June 2 at about 6:16 p.m., the same suspect entered a Metro PCS at 66-10 Grand Ave. in Maspeth armed with a black firearm and demanded money, according to authorities. A female victim handed the man $186 and a wristlet. The suspect then fled the location and there were no reported injuries.

The suspect is described as a black man, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 1 inch tall, and 160 to 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black mask, gray Arizona Diamondbacks jacket with a logo on the breast area and an image of a snack on the sleeves.

Police have released a surveillance video from the first incident and photos from the second.

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.


Teen robbery crew attacks pair at Parsons Boulevard station: NYPD

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Six teenagers targeted a pair of straphangers as they were at a Jamaica subway station last month, taking off with a cellphone after punching one of the 15-year-old victims in the face, police said.

The two male victims were on the mezzanine level of the Parsons Boulevard train station, located on Hillside Avenue, at about 10:40 a.m. on May 26 when the suspects — described as 15- to 17-year-old black males — approached them.

One of the suspects grabbed the phone from one of the victims and threw it the ground, according to authorities. Another robber punched the second victim in the face when he refused to hand over his phone.

The remaining suspects then held that victim while the others went through his pockets and took his phone.

Both victims refused medical attention at 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.


Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Jamaica Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica 



8-year-old boy dies after being hit by car in Jamaica

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A young boy has died from injuries he sustained after he was struck by a car on Memorial Day near a Jamaica park, police announced.

According to reports, Sincere Atkins, of Brooklyn, was at 125th Avenue around Baisley Pond Park just before 5 p.m. on May 25 when he ran into Sutphin Boulevard mid-block and was hit by a 1996 Toyota Corolla.

Atkins was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries on May 29, police said Monday.

The driver remained on the scene of the accident and has not been charged.



Two JFK employees arrested for stealing pairs of Kevin Durant sneakers

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/SNKR_BASE


Two employees at JFK airport were charged Friday with grand larceny for stealing 12 pairs of Nike’s unreleased Kevin Durant “KD8″ sneakers.

According to prosecutors, the suspects — Calvin Colain Nelson, 23, of Springfield Gardens and Audley Russell, 47, of Jamaica — tried selling the sneakers through an Instagram account on Sunday, May 10, a day after the sneakers arrived at the airport.

The sneakers, which are valued at $200 each and not expected to be released until July, were being transported from a factory in Taiwan to Ontario, Canada, via JFK Airport. Officials were able to track down the JFK employees after a member of the Port Authority Police saw an Instagram picture displaying the serial number on the stolen box.

The two men were charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and released without bail following arraignment. They each face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Both defendants were ordered to return to court on June 18.


A video posted by SNKR_BASE 《S.B》 (@snkr_base) on


First draft of Flushing express bus plan publicly revealed

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

The preliminary design for a proposed Select Bus Service (SBS) line from Flushing to Jamaica was publicly revealed for the first time Wednesday in an interactive open house at Flushing Town Hall.

“We understand that we need streets to work for bus riders, we need the streets to work for businesses, and we need the streets to work for the residents and communities, so the open house tonight is really our opportunity to share our proposal,” said Nicole Garcia, Queens Commissioner of the DOT, during the open house.

The proposal was presented in an informal open house, in which different components of the plan were printed out onto large posters and displayed on easels. Officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT) were on hand to explain each poster to community members and answer any questions, and attendees were encouraged to post their reactions onto a comment board for collection.

Event participants were largely supportive of the proposed changes, which include repavement of the general traffic lanes, as well as the installation of dedicated bus and right turn lanes alongside a curbside parking lane. Pedestrian sidewalks are also set to be made wider to accommodate dense foot traffic in the district.

“I want to see improvement for the Q44,” said Samuel Santaella, a community member who said that he thinks off-board fare collection is one of the most important upgrades to be implemented upon the arrival of SBS along the Q44 bus route connecting Flushing to the Bronx. “To kill two birds with one stone, I want to see improvements to Main Street too, on the pedestrian side.”

The DOT will meet with community boards again in June to continue the feedback process and create a finalized street design. The new SBS service is projected to be implemented in fall 2015.

Although there is widespread anticipation among commuters looking forward to improved bus service from Jamaica to Flushing and the Bronx, the creation of an SBS line was initially met with some contention from some officials and local business owners who feared the designated bus lane would cause a displacement of parking resources and additional traffic congestion for private vehicles.

But even among those who had been initially skeptical, there was a feeling of some compromise being reached.

“They really meant it when they said they wanted to engage the community and hear what the community had to say,” said Don Capalbi, president of the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association and a vocal advocate for the preservation of local parking resources. “I really feel that they’re listening to the concerns of Joe Sixpack and his neighbors in our community.”


Suspect wanted in attempted robbery at Jamaica pizzeria

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo/Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for an attempted robbery at a Little Caesars pizza shop in Jamaica.

On May 13 at about 8:45 p.m. the suspect entered the establishment located at 127-07 Merrick Blvd. and tried to take a 23-year-old victim’s purse but then fled without any property, cops said.

The suspect is described as a black man in his 40s, standing between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall, and with a large build. He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, lime green t-shirt, and dark pants.

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.


Flushing business owners fight to maintain parking in SBS plan

| asuriel@queenscourier.com


The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce met with representatives of the MTA and Department of Transportation (DOT) on May 22 to express their skepticism over the benefits of a proposed Select Bus Service (SBS) line set to run from Flushing to Jamaica.

Small business owners felt the most threatened over the possible impact to parking availability in the area. One of the proposed changes will see the area getting a dedicated bus lane for SBS service, and in some cases possibly displacing lanes currently used for curbside parking.

“I am afraid that losing more business due to parking unavailability will result in my business reducing our staff or worse,” said Andrew Hai, owner of Flushing NAPA Automotive Inc. “We are a small business and need all the customers we can get.”

Although local civic groups were in favor of the SBS plans, they also emphasized the need to maintain parking resources.

“The Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association supports the implementation of SBS,” said the group’s president Don Capalbi, although he did urge the DOT to ensure that parking lanes will be preserved. “Elimination of Main Street parking will decimate our local small business hub and the community they serve.”

Nicole Garcia, the DOT’s Queens commissioner, said officials will continue to work with the chamber to ensure that the needs of businesses will be prioritized in transit system changes.

Select Bus Service is an improved bus service that aims to offer fast, frequent and reliable service on high-ridership bus routes. SBS lines decrease travel time by utilizing off-board fare collection by kiosk, dedicated bus lanes and transit signal priority.

A two-phase study completed in 2006 and 2009 identified Main Street and Kissena/Parsons boulevards between Flushing and Jamaica as corridors that could support and greatly benefit from Select Bus Service. The four bus lines along the two thoroughfares move at overall speeds of under 10 mph, and some are delayed for nearly 50 percent of travel time.

The meeting between transit officials and the chamber is part of the ongoing third round of public outreach for SBS implementation. Open houses will be held this week in both Flushing and Jamaica to solicit additional input from the general public and to discuss street design and bus stop locations.

The Flushing open house will be held in Flushing Town Hall at 137-35 Northern Blvd. on Wednesday, May 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. In Jamaica an open house will be held at the Jamaica LIRR Station Atrium Lobby on Sutphin Boulevard the following night, May 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.


August Martin HS in Jamaica hosts hip-hop culinary competition

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Trivella Osbourne/ Gallery by Anthony Giudice and Trivella Osbourne

August Martin High School teamed up with nonprofit The Future Project (TFP) last week to host Stay Hungry, the first-ever hip-hop culinary competition.

Students from August Martin High School’s Culinary Academy in Jamaica, along with several other city high schools, competed in the experimental exhibition of hip-hop and its relationship to food on May 21. The event aimed to bridge the worlds of culinary arts, visual arts and lyrical art.

Syreeta Gates, the dream director for TFP at the high school, created the innovative event with the idea of having an unconventional opportunity for students to demonstrate their shared love for the hip-hop culture by preparing dishes illustrated in hip-hop lyrics.

“This type of event has never been done before,” Gates said. “There has never been a culinary competition around food led by young people.”

Gates pointed out that this competition not only bridges the worlds of food and hip-hop, but creates an important bridge between the students and some of the artists and their lyrics that they used to create their dishes.

“Some of [the students] were born after Biggie Smalls died, so it now creates an intergenerational bridge between the students and these artists,” Gates said.

In its inaugural year, Stay Hungry attracted over 60 guests who watched and cheered on the 33 students who competed for the best hip-hop inspired dish.

The competition was judged by several professional guest judges who tasted over eight dishes, which they judged based on cooking time, description of the dish, presentation and creativity of the use of lyrics.

The first-place winner of the competition was the Secondary School of Law whose lyric was “A pen and a paper, a stereo, a tape of / Me and Eric B., and a nice big plate of fish / Which is my favorite dish / But without no money, it’s still a wish,” by rapper Rakim.

The host school, August Martin High School, came in second place. Their dish’s corresponding lyric was “Got the lamb rack, pan-roasted, laced it with fennel / Little yogurt that been drizzled over—might be a winner,” by Action Bronson.

“I am so proud of the kids. It has been a dream of mine to make this event happen for a very long time, and I am so glad it was a success,” Gates said. “Parents, students and teachers are all asking about next year. Now we have to start planning.”


Cops searching for Jamaica robbery suspects

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for three young men responsible for an assault and robbery that took place in Jamaica earlier this month.

The three males reportedly approached a 27-year-old male at the corner of Southgate Street and 140th Avenue at 3:20 a.m. on May 19. Police said the suspects punched and kicked the man before stealing his cellphone and fleeing the location. The victim was treated at a local hospital.

The NYPD described the perpetrators as black males between 17 and 25 years of age. One suspect had dark curly hair and was wearing a T-shirt and jeans, while another was wearing a stocking cap, grey sweatshirt, camouflaged pants and carrying a backpack. The third suspect had facial hair on his chin and was wearing a white and grey shirt, grey pants and a baseball hat.

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.


Suspect arrested for 2013 Jamaica homicide

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps/Inset courtesy Richmond County, Va. Sheriff's Office

Following a two-year investigation, a Virginia man is facing justice for the March 2013 murder of a 21-year-old Jamaica man at a neighborhood intersection.

Police said Melquan Collier, 23, of Warsaw, Virginia, allegedly shot Roshane Morrison, 21, of Dillon Street in Jamaica on the morning of March 31, 2013. He was extradited back to Queens on May 21 and booked on charges of second-degree murder, bail jumping and criminal possession of a weapon.

Officers from the 113th Precinct, in responding to a 911 call, found Morrison shot in the torso at the corner of 110th Avenue and 179th Place. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Jamaica Hospital.

According to authorities, the U.S. Marshals alerted the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office last week that Collier was possibly in their area.

Based on further investigation, the sheriff’s office reportedly tracked Collier to a home in Haynesville, Virginia, where he was located during a May 18 raid. Law enforcement sources said Collier – who tried to conceal his true identity by providing police with a fake name – was apprehended at the scene. Officers also seized two firearms from the home.