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A reputed member of the Hells Angels was gunned down on the streets of Astoria early Saturday morning, creating fear among the residents who said their neighborhood has been seeing a surge in violent crime.
John Giampetruzzi, 41, of Glen Cove, L.I., was found dead on 28th Street between Ditmars Boulevard and 21st Avenue around 5 a.m. from multiple gunshots to his head, police said. Investigators have not found whoever was responsible for the shooting as of press time Tuesday, but said the shooter had allegedly targeted Giampetruzzi, a member of the motorcycle gang.
Residents watched in shock as police spent all morning examining the victim’s tattoo-laden body and the crime scene.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Daniel Novaes, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years.
The investigation was ongoing as of press time Tuesday.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said Giampetruzzi may have been killed over past drug-related issues.
Residents said crime has been a growing problem in the neighborhood over the last few weeks. Two weeks ago a 32-year-old man was killed by a homeless couple in Astoria Park and last week someone was stabbed not too far from Ditmars Boulevard, police said.
“It’s a safe neighborhood, but recently it’s gotten very bad,” said a resident who would only identify herself as Margie.
Police statistics showed murder is on the rise in Astoria. There have been seven murders in the 114th Precinct, which covers the area, this year compared to one during the same time in 2009, according to NYPD statistics.
Overall crime has increased 1.56 percent over the last 12 months with 1,105 reported crimes taking place in 2010 vs. 1,088 during the same period last year. Vallone said the incidents indicated the NYPD needs to increase its presence in western Queens.
“We now have almost twice as many murders this year [in the 114th] than we did during the entire year last year. It’s a result of having less cops and weaker laws in Albany,” he said.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS, text their tips to 274637 then enter TIP577 or log on to nypdcrimestoppers.com. All reports will be kept confidential.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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