Tag Archives: St. Albans

Seven alleged southeast Queens gang members busted for murder plots: prosecutors

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Counting themselves among “killas,” seven street gang members based in southeast Queens were indicted for allegedly plotting two murder attempts, prosecutors said.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the suspects are part of the EBK (Everybody Killas) gang, which allegedly carried out plots in January 2013 to shoot two individuals whom they believed were members of a rival gang. One of the assassination attempts took place in a busy shopping district during the evening rush hour, while the other occurred a few hours later at a grocery store, according to Brown.

“In both instances, the defendants’ alleged actions threatened the lives and safety of innocent bystanders as the victims were fired upon,” said Brown on Friday. “Today’s indictment is another example of police and prosecutors working together to reduce gang-based violence that too often plagues our neighborhoods.”

Brown identified the seven suspects as Jeffrey Bien-Aime, 19, of St. Albans; Anthony Biggs, 18, of St. Albans; Jonathan Jean-Pierre, 20, of Rosedale; Dayjah Knowles, 18, of Jamaica; Jerald Lowe, 22, of St. Albans; Kenneth Stokes, 20, of St. Albans; and Rasheed Watson, 22, of Jamaica.

All were variously charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and conspiracy.

If convicted, each suspect faces up to 25 years behind bars.

Law enforcement sources said the first shooting occurred at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2013, when Lowe, Bien-Aime, Watson, Jean-Pierre, Knowles and Stokes, along with unidentified EBK members, allegedly confronted rival gang members near Jamaica Avenue and Parsons Boulevard.

Following a verbal exchange, one of the EBK members pulled out a pistol and shot a rival in the right foot, the group then fled the scene, police said.

More than four hours later, Biggs, Stokes and two unidentified EBK members allegedly confronted another suspected rival at a deli located at 116-02 Merrick Blvd., according to prosecutors. Moments after arriving, an EBK member reportedly walked into the store, drew a .380-caliber pistol and shot the suspected rival in the left abdomen.

After the wounded rival fell to the ground, the EBK member attempted to fire again, but the gun jammed, authorities said.

Both of the gang’s targets were treated for their injuries at a local hospital. Detectives determined from shell casings recovered from both crime scenes that the same gun was used in each incident.

“I want to thank the members of the 113th Precinct who worked closely together with the Queens District Attorney’s office to build this case against these alleged EBK gang members,” Bratton said. “The NYPD remains committed to eliminating gang activity and improving the quality of life for the residents of the Southern Queens communities.”


Girlfriend charged with deadly botched robbery of boyfriend in St. Albans

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Updated at 4:15 p.m.

The girlfriend of a 33-year-old Jamaica man shot to death in St. Albans Thursday afternoon was locked up Friday for her role in the homicide, according to authorities.

Prosecutors said Natasha Mohabeer, 30, of 126th Street in South Ozone Park collaborated with two unidentified males to rob the victim, Michael Jonathan, at the corner of Fonda Avenue and Mayville Street just before 2:47 p.m. Thursday.

But all did not go according to plan, as Jonathan engaged the robbers in a physical struggle after they confronted him, police said. Moments later, one of the crooks reportedly shot Jonathan in the torso.

Authorities said both unidentified suspects remain at large.

Officers from the 113th Precinct, in responding to a 911 call regarding the incident, found Jonathan wounded at the intersection. Paramedics brought him to a local hospital, where he died a short time later.

In questioning Mohabeer, detectives learned that she worked with the two at-large suspects in concocting the planned robbery, according to prosecutors. Mohabeer was subsequently charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

“This is yet another example of the senseless gun violence in our community that must end,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “[Mohabeer] now faces being locked behind bars for the rest of her life.”

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the two suspects 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.  


12-building St. Albans portfolio near LIRR station listed for sale

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of GFI Realty Services

An assemblage of 12 multifamily buildings in St. Albans has been listed for sale, according to GFI Realty Services, which is handling the transaction.

The asking price is $5.3 million, according to GFI Realty’s Max Koshkerman, who is handling the marketing of the properties.

The portfolio consists of contiguous two-story apartment buildings located at 187-05 through 187-21 Baisley Blvd. and 187-22 Foch Blvd., not far from retail and dining on Linden and Farmers boulevards. Each building has two one-bedroom units.

The properties are near the St. Albans LIRR station, providing access to Manhattan for tenants. There are also 50 parking spaces on the entire portfolio.

Based on location and the relatively low asking price, it could be a bargain for local investors.

“Located near Linden and Farmers boulevards, these units are all within walking distance of the dining and other conveniences that the nearby retail corridors provide,” Koshkerman said. “With its ideal location and relatively low rents, the buildings provide an enviable asset with significant upsides to investors.”


Police looking for mugger who robbed two women in Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Two women were robbed on the streets of Queens in separate incidents earlier this month when a mugger jumped out of a car, pushed them to the ground and stole their purses before fleeing, police said.

The first victim, a 27-year-old woman, was attacked as she walking near 195th Street and 110th Avenue in St. Albans at about 2:10 p.m. on March 6.

A 56-year-old woman was cleaning snow from the top of her car at an unspecified time in the vicinity of 64th Avenue and 228th Street in Oakland Gardens when she was mugged on March 7, according to authorities.

Police have released a photo of the suspect and of the vehicle — a white sedan.

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.


Addisleigh Park, a thriving tribute to black history in Queens

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Addisleigh Park, a small portion of St. Albans in southeast Queens, was home to many people who were influential to black history. Athletes and musicians such as Jackie Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Louis and Miles Davis once called the small town home.

But their acceptance there did not come easy, as it took years to break racial barriers that once kept the neighborhood exclusively white.

“I heard of the problems that used to be associated with my neighborhood,” said Phillip Douglas, 74, who moved to Addisleigh Park in 1952 and currently lives there. “But when I moved in, most of the racial problems had passed and more and more black people started to move in.”

In the 1940s, Addisleigh Park was mostly owned by white families. Black families started to move into the area but were not allowed to live there due to deed restrictions on houses that prohibited the sale of the property to blacks.

These restrictions were later thrown out by the United States Supreme Court, which said that these rules violated the equal protection of all citizens. Upon this case ruling, black families moved into the area at a fast pace and by 1952, Douglas said that the neighborhood was predominately black.

Famous people who paved the way for many blacks took up residence there, including Roy Campanella, W.E.B Du Bois, Eugene Earl Bostic, James Brown and Count Basie, among others.

House of Eugene Earl Bostic

House of Eugene Earl Bostic

Douglas said he remembers playing outside of his house when he was young and seeing Campanella and Robinson drive by and stop to talk to the children in the neighborhood. He said even though some people and celebrities put themselves on a pedestal, it was the exact opposite for the ones he knew in the neighborhood.

“Looking back, I would take conversations with people like Roy [Campanella] for granted,” said Douglas. “You’d be surprised how normal they actually were even though they were looked upon as so important in society.”

He talked about how tight-knit the neighborhood was and still is, a sentiment that Olivia C. Banks, another longtime Addisleigh Park resident, couldn’t agree with more.

“Living here with your neighbors is like living with family,” said Banks, 77, who moved to the neighborhood in 1958. “I liked what we had when I was younger but the neighborhood has made some great improvements since.”

Andrea Scarborough, president of the Addisleigh Park Civic Association, said holding her position for the past 13 years has been very rewarding.

“There’s a mix of professionals, seniors and municipal workers that make the community great,” she said. “The community comes together and the people that live here really care about the neighborhood.”

The neighborhood got recognition for being so important to history in 2011, when the city Landmarks Preservation Commission designated it a historic district. In Addisleigh Park, 442 homes became part of the historic district protecting the area from redevelopment.

Douglas said he was proud that he was able to see all of this history firsthand.

“I grew up around some of the greatest talent, even though they didn’t get the recognition they deserved back then,” he said. “It was nice to live here, these were good times in my life. I have great memories.”


Three hurt in St. Albans house blaze

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated Monday, Feb. 16, 10:31 a.m.

Firefighters and a neighbor rushed to help the residents of a St. Albans home after a fire broke out in the two-story house early Saturday morning, published reports said.

A space heater ignited the blaze in the basement of the residence on 119th Road near 178th Street about 5:40 a.m., according to the FDNY. There were no working smoke detectors in the home.

Next-door neighbor Lawrence Leone saw the smoke streaming out of the house and, along with his brother, grabbed a ladder to try and rescue the people still inside, reports said.

The smoke had consumed the first floor and the only way the residents could escape was through the second story, Leone told CBS New York.

“I grabbed the ladder so I could put it by the roof so they could be able to climb down,” he said.

One person jumped to safety, another was able to get down on his own, and a third was too scared to use the ladder and had to be rescued by firefighters, according to published reports.

The residents were taken to Nassau University Medical Center in stable condition.


Mom plans $10M lawsuit after Queens teacher allegedly punches autistic boy

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

The mother of an autistic 10-year-old boy wants to sue the Department of Education and the city for $10 million after a St. Albans schoolteacher allegedly attacked her son in the classroom, according to published reports.

Giovanni Garrick, the boy’s mother, claims that on Jan. 23, Alexander Perry, a teacher at P.S. 118, wrongly accused her son of cheating on a test then repeatedly punched him, reports said. He also cursed at the boy and threatened the rest of the class to keep quiet.

The incident left Garrick’s son, identified as M.B. in court papers, injured and psychologically damaged, her lawyers claim.

Perry, 36, was arrested and arraigned on charges of assault, acting in a manner injurious to a child and harassment. He was released on his own recognizance.

According to published reports, Perry has been removed from the classroom and is in the process of being fired.


These five Queens neighborhoods were the borough’s hardest places to sell houses in 2014

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of StreetEasy

2014 was a great year for Queens real estate.

More than $3.6 billion was spent on investment properties, according to a recent report, and in the final quarter of the year, the borough saw strong home sales.

However, for a variety of reasons, such as price points and disinterest in the area or homes, some Queens neighborhoods lagged far behind the borough’s selling rate.

The biggest loser for 2014 is Springfield Gardens, which had a 55 percent absorption rate, a metric showing rate of sales by calculating what share of home listings either went into contract or were removed, according to data compiled by real estate website StreetEasy. Meanwhile the borough’s selling rate increased from 74 percent in 2013 to 82 percent in 2014.

Springfield Gardens, is a mostly residential neighborhood in south Queens without a major downtown or transportation hub. It is bounded by John F. Kennedy Airport to the south, and residents have had to deal with low flying planes passing directly above their homes.

StreetEasy data scientist Alan Lightfeldt explained that there could be a variety of explanations for why homes don’t sell as quickly in some areas.

“There are a number of reasons why inventory does not move, but they can generally be grouped into two categories: price and quality,” Lightfeldt said. “The home may be in disrepair, requiring a lot of investment from a buyer. Or, the price just isn’t generating offers for the seller.”

Chart courtesy of StreetEasy

Chart courtesy of StreetEasy

Ridgewood, which is seeing rising demand and soaring prices in the rental market, took second place when it comes to lowest house sales.

Maspeth, St. Albans and Far Rockaway round up the bottom five.

The good news is that even the neighborhoods at the bottom are improving in sales. For example, St. Albans ranked fourth in the borough in both 2014 and 2013, but median prices are rising and the selling rate is improving, according to the research.

“Even the slowest moving Queens neighborhoods saw a higher absorption rate in 2014,” Lightfeldt said. “This is a sign that fewer Queens listings are falling by the wayside and buyers are snatching them up.”


Arrest made in assault of off-duty cop outside St. Albans supermarket

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video and photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Monday, Jan. 26, 9:57 a.m. 

Police have arrested a man in the assault of an off-duty NYPD officer outside a St. Albans supermarket less than 24 hours after releasing video footage of the suspect.

“The defendant is accused of allowing a relatively minor bumping incident in a supermarket — to which he was not even directly involved — to rapidly escalate into a violent assault that resulted in him causing serious physical injury to his victim,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The accused attacker, Tommie Williams, 27, of Jamaica, was arraigned on Friday on assault and harassment charges, according to the district attorney’s office.

The victim, a 42-year-old off-duty cop, was at the Pathmark on Springfield Boulevard near 132nd Avenue at about Monday afternoon when he accidentally bumped into Williams’ girlfriend, according to Brown. Williams confronted the officer, telling him that he would be outside waiting for him.

As the officer was walking to his car, Williams came up to him, punched him in the face, causing the officer to fall to ground, authorities said. Williams then got into a vehicle. When the cop tried to approach the car and take a photo of it with his cell phone, Williams allegedly punched him and he fell to the ground again. Williams then fled in the vehicle.

The officer had to undergo surgery for facial fractures, which required a metal plate and metal wires to be placed in his face.

If convicted, Williams could spend up to seven years in prison.


Suspect arrested in attempted rape of teen in St. Albans

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police have arrested a man in the strangulation and attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl in St. Albans earlier this year, authorities said.

Tafari Pottinger, 35, of St. Albans, has been charged with attempted rape, assault and strangulation in the July 12 attack, cops said.

The arrest comes just days after police released a video of the suspect.

The victim and the suspect were having a conversation near 109th Road and Farmers Boulevard about 11 p.m. when he started choking the girl until she passed out, police said. He then attempted to rape her before fleeing.


Suspect choked, tried to rape 15-year-old girl in St. Albans: cops

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Detectives investigating the summertime attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl on a St. Albans street released a surveillance video Tuesday of the suspect in a bid to identify and arrest him.

The suspect was having a conversation with the victim near 109th Road and Farmers Boulevard about 11 p.m. on July 12 when he started choking the girl until she passed out, police said. He then attempted to rape her before fleeing in an unknown direction.

Police describe the suspect as a black man in his 20s, with a tattoo on the right side of his neck and arm. He was last seen wearing red Adidas track pants and a red Adidas shirt.

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.



Holiday street lights return to St. Albans

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

It’s been 16 years since Linden Boulevard in St. Albans has been lit up with decorations for the holiday season, but thanks to a group of community activists, the festive lights are back.

“We fought really hard to get these back,” said Allen Poe, president of the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber was determined to get the lights back up and make Linden Boulevard an attraction for consumers.”

The chamber was instrumental in getting the lights up along the shopping corridor. Members went from door to door through the business strip asking for donations to pay for the decorations and were able to raise enough for the project. The lights run for a stretch of about one and a half miles from Linden Boulevard and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the VA Hospital, located at 179-00 Linden Blvd.

“We hope to put the lights up every year from now on,” Poe said. “This is only part of our plan to make the community a better place to live and work.”

Poe was not sure why the lights stopped going up after 1998. He did mention that they are not cheap to get done and that he is still looking for more contributions to be able to pay the second portion of the bill, which will be due when the lights come down in mid-January.


Members of the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce 

“They’re fantastic,” said Thasia Chin, a real estate broker. “It’s very festive and makes the businesses and the boulevard very noticeable.”

Poe and other members of the chamber hope that next year the lights will be brighter and that they will be able to expand them throughout more of the neighborhood. Members of the chamber honored Poe with kind words about his dedication to the community.

“I admire Allen,” said Winnie Benjamin, a member of the chamber. “He told me he was going to get these lights up this year and look, now they’re up.”


3-alarm fire breaks out at St. Albans building

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

It took firefighters almost four hours to control a large blaze at a St. Albans commercial building Tuesday night, according to the FDNY.

The fire broke out just after 7 p.m. at the one-story building, located at 104-03 108th Street. It quickly grew to three alarms and was under control by about 10:40 p.m., fire officials said.

The roof of the structure, a food packaging factory, collapsed, according to multiple reports.

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries, the FDNY said.


Pair accused of holding Queens teen prisoner, forcing to work as prostitute

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

Two men have been indicted after they held a 15-year-old Queens girl against her will and forced her to work as a prostitute, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The teen met the men, Terron Morancis, 29, and Quindell Hill, 33, in St. Albans on May 13, from which point they held her against her will until she was able to escape a week later, according to Brown.

During the girl’s imprisonment, they threatened her, ordering her to have sex with men in Queens and Brooklyn for money, and give them everything she made, the district attorney said. Morancis allegedly took “racy” photos of the 15-year-old and posted them on a website advertising her as a prostitute.

Morancis is also accused of making her perform oral sex on him, Brown said.

The victim was finally able to get away from the men for a brief moment and call her mother, who contacted police.

Morancis, of St. Albans, and Hill, of Brooklyn, were arraigned Wednesday on a 19-count indictment, charging each of them with kidnapping, promoting prostitution, sex trafficking and other crimes, prosecutors said. Morancis is also charged with criminal sex act and failure to register or verify as a sex offender.

They both face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.


13-year-old Queens girl wins theater award

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Colby Christina


When Colby Christina was 2 years old, she started dancing. She was 4 when her teachers told her she would be a star one day. She took that to heart and decided she wanted to be a performer. Now, at the age of 13, she is going to be awarded the Rising Star trophy at the 42nd Annual Viv Awards, organized by the Audience Development Committee Inc. (Audelco) to celebrate black theater.

Christina is being recognized for her portrayal of Alice in “The Liberation of Mother Goose,” an off-Broadway play. The award, which she will receive on Nov. 17 at a ceremony at Symphony Space in Manhattan, came as a surprise to Christina, but she is excited about it.

“I feel it is for everything I have accomplished and all the hard work I put into the play has paid off,” she said. “To perform at the historic Billie Holiday Theater, it was a privilege.”

Christina, a resident of St. Albans, is an accomplished dancer, singer and actress, and said that with Alice, she got the opportunity to “intertwine all those experiences together and express myself in a full manner.”


In her short career, she has managed to perform at the Museum of Natural History, the Jamaica Performing Arts Theater, the Seeds of Hope Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria and the Kumble Theater, to name a few. At the same time, she is an exceptional student whose favorite subject, she said, is science. She is a high school freshman and an ambassador promoting STEM education. If that wasn’t enough, she has also started the paperwork to fulfill her dream of opening a dance school, called CC Dance Company.

“Time management is key,” she said, explaining how she has managed to achieve so much in so few years. “I’ve learned that over the years.”

Christina is inspired by her parents but said her brother Robert is her role model. “He told me, ‘Stars are born, not made,’” she said. “I live by that every day.”