Tag Archives: queens village

Councilman Weprin to leave seat for Cuomo administration


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/file photo

Updated Tuesday, May 12, 12:35 p.m.

Councilman Mark Weprin gave his two weeks’ notice to the people of his district Monday, as he announced his departure from the City Council to take a job with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Weprin, 53, who has served in the 23rd Council District seat since 2010, is poised to become Cuomo’s deputy secretary of legislative affairs. He didn’t set a specific date when he would leave office, but in a statement, Weprin indicated his resignation would take effect “within the next two weeks.”

Prior to his City Council election, Weprin served for 15 years in the state Assembly, holding the seat previously held by his late father, former Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin. Mark Weprin was elected to the City Council seat in 2009 to succeed his brother, David, who made an unsuccessful run for City Comptroller.

David Weprin then won a special election in 2010 for his brother’s and father’s former Assembly seat.

“It has been an honor to represent eastern Queens as an elected official for 21 years,” Mark Weprin said in a statement Monday morning. “It has been my privilege to serve the people and families of my neighborhood. I am proud to have helped the communities I have represented to continue to be wonderful places to live, work and raise a family.”

At the start of his second City Council term, Mark Weprin was elected in January 2014 as chair of the City Council’s Queens delegation. He was also named chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee and serves on the Land Use, Education, Economic Development, Oversight and Investigations, and Technology committees.

As deputy secretary for legislative affairs, Mark Weprin will reportedly serve as a liaison between Cuomo and leaders of the Assembly and state Senate on various matters.

“I have known Governor Cuomo for most of my life, and he is a leader of incredible talent,” Weprin added. “I look forward to this next step in my public career.”

Once the councilman’s resignation takes effect, the mayor must call for a non-partisan special election to be held within 60 days. Each candidate must secure their own party line; the established political parties cannot nominate a candidate of their own, but they may make an endorsement.

The 23rd Council District includes all or parts of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hollis Park Gardens, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

As for who may replace Weprin in the City Council, one contender has already emerged — former Assemblyman and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik. He confirmed his interest in running for the seat in a phone interview with The Courier on Tuesday.

Other potential contenders, as reported in the New York Observer, include Dominic Panakal, chief-of-staff to Councilman Rory Lancman; local attorney Ali Najmi; civic activist and former City Council candidate Bob Friedrich; and former City Council and Assembly candidate Steve Behar.

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Queens residents, pols mourn slain NYPD officer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joseph Concannon and Square Deal Committee, Inc.

BY ANGELA MATUA

After the death of P.O. Brian Moore was announced Monday, reactions of sadness reverberated across Queens.

“This was an unprovoked attack and cold-blooded murder of Police Officer Brian Moore, one of our city’s Finest, in the line of duty,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in a statement Monday afternoon. “We deeply mourn this terrible loss. Any attack on our officers is an attack on our society. It is to be condemned in every sense of the word, and the person responsible must be held fully accountable. Our officers deserve the utmost respect for their devotion and the very real dangers they face day in and day out in the selfless mission to protect our city.”

Councilman I. Daneek Miller— who represents Queens Village, where the shooting occurred — said he hopes to work with local law enforcement to keep neighborhoods safe for everyone.

“As a community we mourn the passing of Officer Brian Moore and are appalled by the act of violence that led to it,” Miller said. “Our community looks forward to working with law enforcement to combat violence against our officers and ensure that our streets are safe for all.”

Fellow Councilman Donovan Richards also mourned Moore’s passing and added that a solid relationship between officers and the community is key to ending violence.

“Officer Moore was an exemplary member of the 105th Precinct and will be greatly missed by all those who knew him,” Richards said. “My prayers are with his family, friends and fellow officers during this time of loss. My sincere hope is that we can work to end senseless violence by building meaningful relationships between our communities and the officers that protect us.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who has actively pushed for legislation to eliminate parole for people who kill police officers on duty, said he would continue to fight for this legislation to be passed.

“Police Officer Moore joins the unacceptable number of police officers who were murdered merely because of the uniform they wore,” Addabbo said. “I intend to continue my promotion of legislation that calls for the elimination of parole for those who kill police officers on duty.”

A retired NYPD captain residing in Queens also called for the public to show their support for local police in the days ahead.

“Police officers give of themselves every day to keep our city, state and nation safe,” said retired NYPD Capt. Joseph Concannon, who held a press conference Monday in front of the 105th Precinct stationhouse in Queens Village. “Police Officer Brian Moore of the 105th Police Precinct is a testament to the courage, valor and bravery of the men and women of the New York City Police Department.  We thank his family and friends for his service to the citizens of the city of New York. “

Concannon said he hopes people will observe National Police Week next Wednesday, May 13, by holding vigils outside of their local precincts from 8:30 to 9 p.m. The vigil remembers the 117 police officers nationwide who died in the line of duty in 2014.

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NYPD officer shot in Queens Village dies of his injuries


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPDNews

BY ROBERT POZARYCKI AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Updated Tuesday, May 5, 2:07 p.m.

The police officer who was shot while on patrol in Queens Village Saturday night died of his injuries Monday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

P.O. Brian Moore, 25, of the 105th Precinct, had reportedly been in a medically induced coma at Jamaica Hospital after complications from emergency surgery set in.

“He already proved himself to be an exceptional young officer,” Bratton said of Moore, who had been on the force for just under five years. Bratton, speaking outside of Jamaica Hospital Monday afternoon, added that in that short time, Moore had made 150 arrests, winning various medals for meritorious service.

Officer Brian Moore (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

Officer Brian Moore (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

“We ask for the people of the city to pray for them,” Bratton continued, referring to Moore’s family, which includes his father and an uncle, both retired NYPD sergeants, and a cousin who is on the job.

Moore was behind the wheel of an unmarked police car when was shot by the alleged gunman, identified as Demetrius Blackwell, 35, of 212th Place in Queens Village.

Authorities said Moore and his partner, P.O. Erik Jansen, pulled up to Blackwell at the corner of 212th Street and 104th Road at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday and questioned him after observing him motioning toward his waistband as if handling a firearm.

Upon questioning Blackwell, the suspect allegedly pulled out a firearm and fired several shots at the car, striking Moore in the face and head.

Jansen, who was uninjured, radioed for assistance. A responding patrol car rushed Moore to Jamaica Hospital. Though he was listed as being in critical but stable condition as of Sunday, his condition reportedly worsened thereafter.

Police tracked down Blackwell at his home Saturday night, a few hours after the shooting took place. The weapon believed to have been used in the shooting, a silver revolver reported stolen from Georgia in 2011, was recovered by officers in Queens Village Monday.

As of Monday morning, Blackwell was currently being held without bail on first-degree attempted murder and other charges. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced later that afternoon that the charges against Blackwell will be upgraded as a result of Moore’s death to first-degree murder.

Photo via Instagrams/@schweetlife

The Queens Village street near where Moore was shot on Saturday. (Photo via Instagrams/@schweetlife)

According to the NYPD, a wake for Moore, who resided in Massapequa, Long Island, will be held on Thursday at the Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. His funeral will take place the following day, at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford, Long Island, at 11 a.m.

On Monday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all flags to fly at half-staff on all city buildings and stationary flagstaffs throughout the five boroughs until Moore is laid to rest. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also ordered flags on all state government buildings to fly at half-staff.

This is the first line-of-duty homicide that the NYPD suffered since December, when Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were fatally shot on a Brooklyn street. Their killer took his own life moments after the shooting.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of Police Officer Brian Moore,” de Blasio said in a statement. “For five years, Brian served with distinction and he put his life on the line each day to keep us all safe. On Saturday, he made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the people of New York City.”

President Obama — in Manhattan Monday for an address at Lehman College — also mourned the officer’s death.

“He came from a family of police officers,” Obama was quoted in The New York Times. “And the family of fellow officers he joined in the NYPD and across the country deserve our gratitude and our prayers, not just today but every day. They’ve got a tough job.”

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NYPD officer shot in Queens Village, suspect charged with attempted murder


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagrams/@schweetlife

BY ROBERT POZARYCKI, CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ALINA SURIEL

Updated Monday, May 4, 9:30 a.m.

A police officer remains in critical but stable condition after being shot while on duty in Queens Village Saturday — and the man who allegedly shot him remains locked up, according to officials.

The shooting took place at about 6:15 p.m. in the vicinity of 212th Street and 104th Road.

According to police, the injured officer — P.O. Brian Moore, 25, a five-year NYPD veteran from Long Island — and his partner, P.O. Erik Jansen, were in plain clothes and patrolling the area in an unmarked vehicle when they observed the suspected shooter — Demetrius Blackwell, 35 — acting suspiciously.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Blackwell motioned toward his waist as if concealing a firearm.

Officer Brian Moore (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

Officer Brian Moore (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

Moore, who was driving the unmarked police cruiser, rolled up behind Blackwell and inquired as to his actions. Bratton said Blackwell immediately turned toward the vehicle, pulled out a firearm and fired at least two shots, striking Moore in the face and head.

Jansen, who was not injured, radioed for help, and officers in a responding patrol car rushed Moore to Jamaica Hospital. The injured officer was immediately brought into surgery and will be admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit. Reportedly, a prognosis for his recovery won’t be known for up to 48 hours.

The NY Daily News reported Monday that Moore is in a medically induced coma.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown visited Moore’s family at Jamaica Hospital Saturday night and later addressed members of the media about the shooting.

“Our hearts are with his family, his loved ones,” de Blasio said. “Our hearts are with [Moore’s] extended family: the men and women of the NYPD.”

Blackwell ran from the location, but police, aided by several witnesses, stopped him several blocks away on 212th Place, officials said. The weapon, however, has not yet been recovered.

Police noted that Blackwell has a previous criminal record that included arrests for robbery and weapons possession. According to NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records, he was released from prison in June 2008 after serving time for a second-degree attempted murder conviction.

Blackwell was ordered held without bail during his arraignment hearing Sunday on charges of first-degree attempted murder on a police officer, aggravated assault on a police officer, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree assault. If convicted, Brown said, Blackwell faces 25 years to life behind bars.

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Pedestrian critically injured in chain-reaction crash at Queens Village fruit stand


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Anthony Giudice

One person was seriously injured after a wild accident in Queens Village Friday morning involving a school bus, truck and fruit stand, according to authorities.

The incident occurred at about 11:45 a.m. at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Hollis Court Boulevard, near the southern end of the Clearview Expressway.

Police said a school bus with nearly 30 children on board suddenly lost control and struck a Penske truck parked outside the New Giant Farm fruit store at 211-14 Hillside Ave.

The impact caused the truck to mount the sidewalk and strike the fruit stand, causing structural damage to the building and an awning to collapse onto a pedestrian.

Paramedics brought the injured pedestrian to a local hospital in critical condition.

The children on board the bus were removed to Long Island Jewish Medical Center for observation, police said.

An investigation is ongoing.

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Man gets 25 years in deadly 2012 Hollis shooting


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

A Hollis man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting and killing a Queens Village resident in broad daylight three years ago, prosecutors announced Monday.

Paul Boatwright, 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter earlier this month in the shooting death of Jerry Lodvill before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder, who imposed the determinate sentence of 25 years in prison.

According to court records and published reports, Boatwright fatally shot 30-year-old Lodvill in the head and torso in February 2012 on Hollis Avenue near 205th Street across from a playground in Hollis as the victim was walking home.

“The defendant has admitted to gunning down a man in broad daylight and will now serve a lengthy sentence in prison for this senseless shooting. Gun violence in our neighborhoods will not be tolerated,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

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Philadelphia man arrested for killing aunt at her Queens Village home


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

HandcuffsHC0511_L_300_C_Y-624x413

Updated Sunday, March 15, 11:21 a.m. 

The NYPD charged a Philadelphia man with stabbing his aunt to death with an ice pick inside her Queens Village home last October, authorities said.

Richie Desauguste, 27, was booked on second-degree murder and weapons possession charges for the Oct. 24, 2014, murder of Rose Ragsdale, 66, of 105th Avenue, police announced early Saturday.

Ragsdale was asleep in her bedroom just before 3:20 a.m. that morning when she awoke and spotted a masked intruder, according to police.

When Ragsdale screamed, Desauguste allegedly pulled out an ice pick and stabbed her in the chest and arm. He fled the home but dropped the ice pick at the scene.

Ragsdale, a school bus matron, was pronounced dead at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

Detectives located Desauguste inside an Applebee’s restaurant at 1710 Hempstead Tpke. in Elmont on Thursday, police sources said. He was subsequently charged with Ragsdale’s murder following questioning.

Police said a family dispute over money may have been the motive in Ragsdale’s killing.

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Man busted for robbing four Queens businesses


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police have arrested an alleged thief for holding up four Queens businesses this month — including three in the same day.

Jose Escobar, a 48-year-old Queens Village resident, has been charged with five counts of robbery in the crime spree that began on March 2, authorities said.

According to police, that afternoon Escobar held up the Baile Deli and Grocery at 222-15 Braddock Ave. in Bellerose, taking off with $1,000.

On Sunday, he allegedly pulled off three more armed robberies.

Escobar is accused of holding up a Bellerose Gulf Gas station, located at 239-15 Jamaica Ave., at about 10:35 a.m., getting away with about $75 in cash.

The same day, at about 1:15 p.m., he robbed a Bellerose convenience store, located at 236-11 Braddock Ave., police said. He took a drink and $1,500 in cash before fleeing.

Just 15 minutes later, he robbed Mogul Hardware in nearby Queens Village, authorities said. After entering the 212-44 91st Ave. store, Escobar allegedly took out his gun and demanded cash. He then grabbed $30 and fled on foot.

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Man holds up three Queens businesses in one day: police


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A thirsty thief held up four Queens businesses this month, targeting three in one day and stealing more than $2,500 in cash — and a drink, police said.

The suspect first hit the Baile Deli and Grocery at 222-15 Braddock Ave. in Bellerose at about 12:30 p.m. on March 2, according to authorities. After pulling out a gun and demanding money, the suspect took $1,000 before fleeing on foot.

On Sunday, at about 10:35 a.m., the same suspect allegedly robbed a Bellerose Gulf Gas station, located at 239-15 Jamaica Ave., at gunpoint, getting away with about $75 in cash.

The same day, at about 1:15 p.m., he robbed another Bellerose convenience store, located at 236-11 Braddock Ave. After entering the store, the suspect played a lotto game then went to the refrigerator, took a beverage, and put it onto the counter, police said. He then displayed a gun and demanded the drink and cash. The suspect took the drink and $1,500 in cash before fleeing.

Just 15 minutes later, the same man is accused of robbing a hardware store in nearby Queens Village, authorities said. The suspect entered Mogul Hardware, located at 212-44 91 Ave., flashed his gun and demanded cash again. He then grabbed $30 and fled on foot.

Police describe the suspect as a white Hispanic man who is about 40 years old, 6 feet 3 inches tall and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a light blue “Adidas” hooded sweatshirt during the robbery at the hardware store.

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.

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NYPD cop accused of choking child’s mother


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarLightsHC0708_L_300_C_Y-624x414

An NYPD officer was arrested on Sunday for choking the mother of his 10-month-old girl in front of the child in Queens Village, according to police and court records.

Jerry Sukhnandan, 33, was arraigned on Nov. 2 and charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, harassment and endangering the welfare of the child, the criminal complaint said.

He is accused of placing his hands around the woman’s neck and preventing her from breathing while the two were in front of 220-14 97th Ave. sometime between the night of Oct. 25 and the following morning.

Sukhnandan, who was off duty at the time, tried to hurt the woman in front of their baby, according to the complaint.

It was not immediately clear what led to the incident or what the status of Sukhnandan’s relationship with the woman was at the time, although the two do share the same last name.

Following his arraignment, Sukhnandan was released on his own recognizance.

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Suspect wanted in connection to 21 Queens, Bronx commercial break-ins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection with a string of citywide commercial burglaries.

In a total of 21 incidents, starting in June in Rosedale and most recently occurring on Oct. 20 in the Bronx, at least one suspect broke into commercial establishments via the roof, side or rear doors, or ventilation ducts while the business were closed, according authorities. Money from the cash register and broken-into ATMs, as well as miscellaneous items, such as cigarettes, were taken during the thefts.

In Queens, the burglaries have occurred in Laurelton, Broad Channel, Jamaica, Astoria, Queens Village, Bayside, Hollis, Glen Oaks, College Point, Richmond Hill and Flushing. The other break-ins all happened in the Bronx.

The NYPD has released surveillance photos of the male suspect wanted in an incident on Sept. 12 in Richmond Hill. During this burglary, at about 8 p.m. the suspect entered 88-24 Van Wyck Expressway via the roof, damaged the security system but did not remove any property, police said.

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.

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66-year-old woman stabbed to death in Queens Village home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarLightsHC0708_L_300_C_Y-624x414

Police are investigating the death of a 66-year-old woman who was found stabbed several times in her Queens Village home early Friday morning.

Officers discovered the victim, Rose Ragsdale, inside her 105th Avenue residence at about 3:20 a.m. with stab wounds to her chest and arm, authorities said.

Ragsdale was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

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Queens Village man arrested for pot, gun stash after leaving son home alone: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

A 30-year-old Queens Village man was arrested on drug and gun possession charges after he left his 8-year-old son sleeping alone at their home, police said.

Nuquan Stewart was busted on Oct. 14, at 10:45 p.m. after police officers saw that the Volkswagen he was driving had a broken brake light, according to authorities. When they approached Stewart about it, they allegedly noticed a strong odor of marijuana.

The cops asked Stewart to step out of the vehicle. They then spotted six plastic bags of the drug sticking out of the open front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt and a gravity knife jutting from a upholder in the vehicle’s center console, police said. When the cops handcuffed him, Stewart told them about his son, who he had left alone at home while he ran his errands.

At Stewart’s request, the cops went to his 222nd Street apartment to check on the young boy. When they reached it, they allegedly smelled pot. They entered the residence with the keys Stewart had given them and found the boy safely asleep in his bedroom. They also found numerous bags of marijuana and large stacks of money.

The cops handed the child over to the city’s Administration for Children’s Services who then transferred his care to another family member.

The next day, the police executed a search warrant at the apartment and seized several items including 30 pounds of marijuana, approximately $17,500 in cash, a .40-cal Smith & Wesson semiautomatic firearm loaded with 11 rounds, and a fully-automatic Ruger AR-15 assault rifle, along with two high-capacity magazines loaded with 20 live rounds, according to authorities.

Stewart is currently being held in Rikers Island as he awaits a court date to face charges of criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a machine gun, criminal possession of a loaded firearm, and failure to exercise control of a minor, police said. He has previously been arrested for the sale and possession of marijuana and crack cocaine, burglary, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

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Queens Village shopping mall selling for nearly $11M  


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal 

The Village Plaza Shopping Center is selling for $10.9 million, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, which is marketing the sale.

The center, located at 218-24 Hempstead Ave. in Queens Village not far from Belmont Park, was built in 2006 and is owned by Village Plaza LLC, according to city records.

It has nearly 39,000 square feet in six attached two-story buildings. The plaza also has 26 retail and office units and is currently 75 percent filled with tenants such as a 99-cents store and a Little Caesars pizza chain shop.

There are 25 parking spaces directly in front of the shopping center as well.

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24-year-old motorcyclist dies in Belt Parkway crash


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ambulance

A Queens Village man was killed Wednesday in a motorcycle collision on the Belt Parkway, cops said.

Officers discovered 24-year-old Julian Smith lying on the ground in the center lane of the Belt Parkway near the Van Wyck Expressway at about 3:50 a.m., according to police.

He was found unconscious and unresponsive next to his bike, and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

The investigation is still ongoing.

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