Instead of wishing Jagdesh Beni a happy 34th birthday, family members of the Ozone Park immigrant were cremating his remains Monday after he was shot and killed outside his home last week in what was the first murder in Queens of the new year.
Beni was murdered after he allegedly got into an argument with 18−year−old Wade Cameron when Beni pulled into his driveway at 107−50 103rd St. at around 1:30 p.m. last Thursday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The DA said Cameron allegedly then pulled out a gun, shooting Beni once in the chest, killing him.
“Every day of his 33−plus years he lived. He lived life to the fullest,” said Sham Jagnanan, Beni’s brother−in−law who witnessed the murder, while delivering a eulogy Sunday night at Romanelli funeral home in South Ozone Park. “Unfortunately for us, we will be celebrating his birthday by cremating him.”
Jagnanan broke down in tears as he recalled the moments after his brother−in−law was shot.
“He was asking me to run,” Jagnanan said. “He said, ‘Sham, he has a gun.”
Beni’s wife, Sunita, gave a tearful speech as she remembered her husband, a father of three girls — Melanie, 8; Melissa, 6; and Melina, 3.
“He loved me and our three babies so much,” she said. “He would do anything for us.”
Beni, a Guyanese native who moved to the United States with his family in 1992, was the first murder victim in Queens in 2009.
“All we can say is he was a warm, loving guy,” said a family member who was standing by Beni’s home Friday and asked not to be named. “He touched a lot of people’s hearts.”
The family member said Beni owned construction and iron work businesses.
“He was a jack−of−all−trades,” he said.
Brown said Cameron was arraigned Friday in Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens on murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon charges.
“Once again, an illegal handgun is at the center of what, under normal circumstances, would have amounted to nothing more than a verbal dispute,” the DA said in a statement. “As a result, a husband has been senselessly gunned down in front of his house and three very young girls will grow up without their father.”
The teen was ordered held on $150,000 bail, the DA said. His next court date was scheduled for Jan. 23.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2009 Community News Group
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