Today’s news:

Cops nab 2 in Corona death

Two people are under arrest for allegedly killing a Corona man during an early morning scuffle Saturday on National Street, police and eyewitnesses said.

Juan Paucar, 24, of 104th Street, and Brandon Perez, 23, of 42nd Avenue, were charged with manslaughter in the death of Jose Cortez, 41, of 37th Avenue, according to investigators. The pair allegedly got into a fight with Cortez around 2 a.m. and beat him with a belt after chasing him out of a restaurant, according to investigators.

Cortez was rushed to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, but pronounced dead a short time after arrival, police said.

Paucar and Perez allegedly tried to explain themselves to the police who arrived at the scene, according to Elizabeth Santamaria, who was working at a restaurant near where the fight took place.

“They were saying that they were helping him,” Santamaria said.

The restaurant worker said one of the men tried to tell officers they could not have gotten into the fight because they were “improperly dressed.” But several people witnessed the fight and told police Paucar and Perez allegedly tried to flee the scene in a cab, according to Santamaria.

Police did not disclose what caused the men to allegedly harm Cortez.

The killing took place within the jurisdiction of the 110th Precinct, which has seen a small increase in crime over the last year, police statistics show.

Although murder is down 66 percent from three reported homicide incidents in 2009 to one this year, overall reported crime incidents have increased nearly 3 percent from 848 incidents last year to 873 in 2010, according to NYPD stats.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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