Tag Archives: Murder

Suspect in Queens Village woman’s murder nabbed in Virginia

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A Flushing man suspected in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, whose body was found in the trunk of her car last week, was picked up by police in Virginia on Friday, police announced.

Luis Zambrano, 30, was taken into custody in the town of Daleville, Virginia, located about 10 miles north of Roanoke.

Zambrano was wanted in connection with the death of Angie Escobar, 28, of Queens Village. She was last seen alive at 11 p.m. on Sept. 4 at her 221st Street home.

Escobar’s decomposing body, which sustained multiple stab wounds, was discovered nearly a week later on the night of Sept. 10 stuffed in the trunk of her Nissan Maxima parked at the corner of 22nd Avenue and Murray Street in Flushing.

According to police, Zambrano was last seen driving the Nissan Maxima in close proximity to his Flushing residence.

Charges against Zambrano are pending his extradition back to Queens.


Missing Queens Village woman found dead in trunk of her car in Flushing

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Updated Sept. 12, 10:35 a.m.

The decomposing body of a Queens Village woman – who was reported missing a week ago – was found in the trunk of her own car on a Flushing street Thursday night, according to police.

Officers from the 109th Precinct made the grim discovery at 8:36 p.m. Thursday while responding to a call regarding a suspicious vehicle parked near the corner of 22nd Avenue and Murray Street.

After noticing a foul odor emanating from the trunk of the Nissan Maxima, authorities said, the officers opened the trunk and discovered the body of Angie Escobar, 28, with multiple stab wounds to her torso. Police determined that the vehicle was registered in her name.

Escobar was reported missing a week earlier; she was last seen on Sept. 4 at 11 p.m. at her 221st Street residence.

The body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s office, where Escobar was subsequently identified.

The Nissan Maxima belonging to Escobar, in which the body was found. Photo courtesy of NYPD.

The Nissan Maxima belonging to Escobar, where her body was later found. (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

Meanwhile, police ask the public’s help in finding Luis Zambrano, 30, of 150th Street in Flushing, who was identified in published reports as Escobar’s former boyfriend and is wanted in connection with the homicide.

According to authorities, Zambrano was last seen driving the Nissan Maxima in close proximity to his residence. He is described as standing 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds and having a bald head.

Anyone with information about the murder or Zambrano’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Man shot to death at St. Albans intersection

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Detectives are looking for the gunman who shot a Cambria Heights resident at a St. Albans street corner early Sunday morning.

Russell McKee, 30, was shot multiple times while standing at Camden and Liberty avenues about 4:53 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.

Officers from the 103rd Precinct and EMS units responded to the scene. Paramedics brought McKee to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the New York Post, the unidentified gunman got out of a car, approached McKee and fired numerous shots at him, striking the victim in the arm, leg, abdomen and back. Reportedly, the shooter then returned to the vehicle and drove away.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Richmond Hill mom charged with killing infant claimed baby was possessed

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot courtesy of Robert Stridiron

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 11, 11:10 a.m. 

The mother of a 3-week-old boy whose body was found in a Richmond Hill apartment building’s courtyard last week has been charged with murder after allegedly throwing the child out a four-story window because she believed an evil spirit had taken over the boy’s body.

Rashida Chowdhury, 21, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and intentional murder of a victim less than 11 years old, the NYPD announced Saturday.

A witness told authorities that just before 4 a.m. she had heard an unusual noise like a “thump” coming from the courtyard at 85-55 115th St., according to court documents. The witness then went to the lobby area of the building, looked through a window to the courtyard and saw a baby lying on the cement floor unresponsive and with an apparent injury to the head. She then called 911.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the 911 call at 85-55 115th St. at about 4:06 a.m. on Aug. 7, according to police. Upon arriving, they found the baby, Rizwan Ahmad, unconscious and unresponsive. Emergency medical personnel also responded and pronounced the infant dead at the scene.

During their investigation, authorities observed an open window on the fourth floor of the building and determined it to be the baby’s apartment, court documents said. The height from the window to the courtyard floor was determined to be about 42 feet high.

While being questioned, the child’s mother— who lived in the apartment with her 40-year-old husband and other family members — said she woke up between 3:30 and 4 a.m. and took Rizwan from the bed and went into the bathroom, according to the criminal complaint. While she was alone in the bathroom with the baby she said she tossed him out of the bathroom window.

According to court records, Chowdhury said that an evil spirit had taken over her infant son, who had recently been sick, and she was “stopping the pain.”

The mother of a 3-week-old boy, whose body was found in the courtyard of 85-55 115th St. (pictured), has been charged for murder. (Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Nicholas Strini)

The 3-week-old boy’s body was found in the courtyard of 85-55 115th St. (Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Nicholas Strini)

“This is a truly horrific and disturbing case of a mother accused of killing her helpless 3-week-old infant son by tossing him out of a window, where he fell more than 40 feet to the pavement and died,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The alleged actions of the defendant are totally incomprehensible. She now faces serious charges that could lead to her spending the rest of her life behind bars if convicted.”

After performing an autopsy on the boy, the medical examiner classified the death as a homicide and said the baby died of a blunt impact of the head and torso with skull fractures and lacerations of brain, liver and spleen, according to court records.

Chowdhury was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court and is being held without bail. She has also been placed on suicide watch and is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 10.

If convicted on her charges, Chowdhury faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

The body of a one-month-old boy who died in Richmond Hill on the morning of Aug. 7 is placed into the medical examiner's van. (Photo by Robert Stridiron)

The body of an infant who died in Richmond Hill on the morning of Aug. 7 is placed into the medical examiner’s van. (Photo by Robert Stridiron)


Cops seek potential witness in Queens Village homicide

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man who could possibly help them solve the fatal shooting of a Queens Village resident who was found dead in his apartment Wednesday.

On Wednesday night, the NYPD released video footage of a man walking across the street from the homicide location at 211-77 Jamaica Ave., near 212th Street. Detectives would like to interview the unknown person to find out if he saw anything while walking down the street.

Authorities discovered Jermain Gladimer, 25, inside his basement apartment on Aug. 5 at about 1:15 a.m. According to police, he had gunshot wounds to his head and torso and was pronounced dead at the scene.

There have been no arrests.

Anyone who can identify the witness or has any other information about the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Police investigating deadly shooting inside Queens Village apartment

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A 25-year-old man was shot to death at his Queens Village home early Wednesday morning, according to authorities.

Police found Jermain Gladimer inside his basement apartment on Jamaica Avenue near 212th Street at about 1:15 a.m., cops said. He had gunshot wounds to head and torso and was pronounced dead at the scene.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.



Second arrest made in deadly Jackson Heights shooting

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A second individual has been arrested several months after a Corona man was gunned down in broad daylight on a Jackson Heights street, according to authorities.

Isaac Martinez, 24, who the NYPD said is homeless, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder and gang assault in the May 5 death of 38-year-old Jorge Manzanarez.

Raul Zamora, 33, of Jackson Heights, was charged with second-degree murder, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon for the shooting two weeks following the incident.

According to officials, Zamora — a reputed member of the Sureños 13 gang — Martinez and another unapprehended individual got into an argument with Manzanarez at about 2:30 p.m. on May 5 on Roosevelt Avenue near Whitney Avenue. Manzanarez was then shot once in the chest.

Martinez’s affiliation with the Sureños 13 wasn’t immediately clear.

Both men face 25 years to life in prison and are currently being held without bail, according to the Queens district attorney’s office and court records.


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.



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.




Astoria man found fatally stabbed in his home

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Updated Monday, June 22, 3:23 p.m.

Detectives are looking for leads in the homicide of a 54-year-old man who was found repeatedly stabbed inside his Astoria apartment on Saturday morning.

Officers from the 114th Precinct found Enver Julevic with multiple stab wounds to his torso inside his residence on 12th Street near 31st Avenue at 6:17 a.m. Paramedics responded to the location and pronounced him dead.

According to authorities, a friend of the victim tried to contact Julevic previously and, after receiving no response, went to the apartment for a visit. Using a spare key, the friend entered the apartment and discovered Julevic lying on the dining room floor.

No arrests have been made as of yet, and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.

Anyone with information regarding the murder is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.


Forest Park homicide suspect knew his victim: DA

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated June 22, 2:57 p.m.

Sought for questioning in the recent murder of a Flushing man in Forest Park, a person of interest in the case was picked up by police for drinking inside the park on Friday night and was later charged with the homicide, authorities said.

Zoltan Forai, also known as Stephen Forai, was apprehended by police on Friday in connection to the June 10 murder of Diego Piedrahita, 23, of Booth Memorial Avenue, law enforcement officials stated.

The motive for the murder is still unknown, but according to authorities, Forai and the victim were known to each other.

Sometime between June 8 and June 9, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, Forai allegedly kicked Piedrahita about the head and body, then used a rock to strike him multiple times in his face and head, causing his death. Parkgoers discovered Piedrahita’s body on the afternoon of June 10.

According to police, Forai was spotted by police last Friday at Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue near Forest Park. Forai, who was known to frequent the Forest Park Bandshell and Victory Field, was allegedly observed drinking a can of beer, and he was arrested for drinking in public.

Forai allegedly shaved his beard so as to not look like the bearded suspect wanted for questioning in Piedrahita’s death, authorities said.

Forai was arraigned on Saturday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Bruna DiBiase on second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon charges. He was ordered held without bail and must to return to court on July 2; if convicted, Forai faces up to 25 years to life in prison.


Person of interest sought in Forest Park murder

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking to question an individual regarding the murder of a Flushing man found dead in Forest Park Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Zoltan Forai, also known as Stephen Forai, is believed to frequent the Bandshell and Victory Field areas of the park, police said. He is described as 44 years old, standing about 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 170 pounds and having brown eyes, brown hair and a beard.

The body of Diego Piedrahita, 23, of Booth Memorial Avenue was discovered by two park-goers at about 3:30 p.m. near Park Lane South and Woodhaven Boulevard, police said.

Piedrahita — who had blunt force trauma to the head, possibly as the result of a tree limb being used as a weapon — was pronounced dead at the scene. His death was later ruled a homicide.

According to police sources, Piedrahita’s wallet and identification were found at the scene and there were no signs of a robbery. He did not have a criminal record.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident 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.


First-degree murder indictment for alleged Queens Village cop killer

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:08 p.m.

A Queens Village man accused of fatally shooting a police officer last month pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to an indictment that includes first-degree murder charges, District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

Demetrius Blackwell, 35, of 212th Place allegedly shot P.O. Brian Moore as the officer and his partner, P.O. Erik Jansen, approached him in their unmarked police cruiser on the night of May 2. Moore was struck in the head and died two days later at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Blackwell was arrested hours after the shooting and remains in custody. He appeared in Queens Criminal Court Thursday afternoon before Judge Joseph Zayas for arraignment on a 12-count indictment that includes charges of first-degree murder, aggravated murder and attempted murder; second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; and drug possession charges.

If convicted, Blackwell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole — the maximum sentence under New York State law. He remains held without bail and was ordered to return to court on Sept. 17.

“The defendant’s alleged actions are a direct attack on society and the law and reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day — and the ultimate sacrifice they may be called upon to make — as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Moore and Jansen, both assigned to the 105th Precinct, were riding in the unmarked car along 104th Road near 212th Street in Queens Village at 6:15 p.m. on May 2 when they allegedly observed Blackwell adjusting his waistband, law enforcement sources said.

The officers then pulled up alongside Blackwell to question him when he allegedly pulled a black firearm out of his waistband and opened fire on the officers, according to police. Moore sustained two gunshot wounds to his head; Jansen was uninjured.

Following the shooting, Blackwell — in an attempt to alter his appearance — stole a t-shirt and a pair of sneakers, prosecutors said. Police, however, caught up to him later that night at his home. The gun he allegedly used — a silver revolver reported stolen from Georgia in 2011 — was also recovered.


Texas man indicted in 2005 Queens murder of godfather

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A man accused of fatally stabbing his 85-year-old godfather in Queens a decade ago is finally facing charges after being arrested in Texas, prosecutors said.

Jamal Darrow, 35, of San Antonio, was arraigned Monday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder on a three-count indictment charging him with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder following extradition from his home state, according to the district attorney’s office.

“The defendant has been on the run for 10 years, but he could not hide from justice forever. The accused — the godson of the elderly man — allegedly took a knife and stabbed the victim multiple times as he tried to rob him of his valuables,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Darrow, according to the charges, stabbed his godfather, Charles Boyd, on April 1, 2005, while in the midst of a robbery inside the elderly man’s 116th Avenue home. The retired bus driver and widower suffered stab wounds to the torso, face and neck.

According to the San Antonio Express News, the case went cold for years until 2013, when new leads and information eventually led to Texas and Darrow’s apprehension on Wednesday.

Darrow, who was ordered held without bail and to return to court on July 17, faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.