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Police arrest two suspects in Roosevelt Ave. shooting

Police have arrested two men in connection with the late morning shooting May 24 on Roosevelt Avenue in Elmhurst that sent five people to the hospital.

Corona resident Leonel Tellez, 24, was arrested June 4 on suspicion of criminal weapon possession, assault and reckless endangerment, police said.

Police arrested 21-year-old Corona resident Jose Cocoma the next day on suspicion of attempted murder, assault, criminal weapon possession and reckless endangerment, authorities said. A third suspect has not yet been caught, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney's office.

Both were arraigned Saturday in Queens Criminal Court. Tellez was held in lieu of $50,000 bail, while Cocoma was denied bail, the DA's office said. If convicted, Cocoma faces up to 25 years in prison and Tellez up to 15 years.

Police believe the men were targeting a 21-year-old man walking on Roosevelt Avenue near 80th Street around 11:30 a.m. Cocoma, whose nickname is Payaso, or "clown," got out of a black Volkswagen with tinted windows, walked up to the victim and opened fire with a revolver before fleeing in the car, according to the criminal complaint. Tellez confessed to driving the car, the DA said.

Cocoma hit his target and four other people, police said. Camera footage also shows a gunman opening fire on an unknown sixth person talking on a cell phone, authorities said.

The 21-year-old victim was shot in the side, police said. A 45-year-old man was shot in the back and a 21-year-old woman was shot in the torso. The victims were taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition, police said.

All the victims were shot outside and police do not believe they knew one another. Police said they think the shooting was gang-related.

The attack led elected officials to renew their calls for the revival of a dedicated police task force and the installation of more police security cameras along the corridor.

Roosevelt Avenue has already been designated an impact zone by the NYPD, which means a roster of 120 recent graduates from the Police Academy patrol the area on foot in two shifts.

At a special public safety meeting held May 29, Chief Carlos Gomez, commander of Patrol Borough Queens North, said the bulk of his anti-gang and nightclub enforcement resources go to the 110th and 115th precincts, which cover the areas north and south of Roosevelt Avenue.

"What happened Saturday is not due to a lack of policing on our part," he told residents.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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