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A pair of shootings that took place within hours and blocks of each other in St. Albans this week may have been the sign of increased gang activity in southeast Queens, according to an elected official.
City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said he has been startled by the surge in violence in his district, especially following the deaths of two men Monday afternoon and early Tuesday morning.
“I’ve been talking to the police about it,” he said. “They are saying most of the shootings that are taking place are territorial in nature.”
Tony McFadden, 26, was shot in the head at his doorstep at 119th Road and 177th Street at 4:40 p.m. Monday, according to investigators. The unapprehended gunman rang the bell to the house, asked for McFadden and opened fire when he reached the door, police said.
His death shocked his relatives, who have been mourning McFadden’s death at their home with a makeshift candle memorial on the stoop.
“He was friendly, he was blessed, he was giving, he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ,” said the victim’s sister, Ivory McFadden, 23.
The 26-year-old was the son of Bishop Tony McFadden, pastor of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ on South Road and 156th Street in Jamaica, and was a God-fearing man with no enemies, according to his sister.
“He loved my kids. He would give me anything I would ask for. He could sing, he was very talented,” she said.
Around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, another man was found dead at the St. Albans Long Island Rail Road station at Linden Boulevard and 180th Street from a gunshot wound to the head, police said. Damien Beamon, 31, of 160th Street was killed after he walked out of a nearby bar and was confronted by someone who was waiting for him, according to a source.
No suspects had been identified or arrested in that killing as of press time and the investigations into both shootings were ongoing, police said.
Comrie said he has heard from the authorities that the LIRR station shooting was gang-related and the numerous murders that have been taking place within southeast Queens are in one way or another related to a rise in activity by the criminal groups. Two weeks ago, a man and woman were shot to death while they were in their minivan in southeast Queens and another man and woman were also gunned down in a separate incident last week.
“These are not random, these are not people shooting unknown people. These are not even people who are sneaking up to people walking in the street. It seems to be all personal in nature,” he said.
Unlike the murders that took place over the summer, where large, crowded parties were the scene of shootings, Comrie noted that there was a lot of planning going on with this new set of slayings and thus it was difficult for investigators to spot any warning signs.
“It’s not like it’s a house thing or someone blocked someone else’s car or a result of someone being at someone else’s party. These are premeditated acts of violence,” he said.
He pointed out that the commanding officers at the southeast Queens precincts are stepping up their patrols in the areas where the incidents have occurred and are collecting any and all information from residents about drug and prostitution problems, which he said are also on the rise.
Anyone with information on any of the murders 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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