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The murder of a Jamaica man who was shot on his way to a New Year’s Eve party capped off a violent year in southeast Queens.
Jamal West, 26, was found by officers with several gunshot wounds to his back at the corner of Merrick Boulevard and 109th Avenue around 11:30 p.m., police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS crews who arrived a short time later, according to investigators.
West, who lived with his mother and nine siblings in Jamaica, was on his way to a party during the time of the shooting, according to his family.
“We’re trying hard to cope,” said West’s aunt, who would only identify herself as Lorraine.
She was joined by several family members at West’s home at 107th Avenue in Jamaica, where friends left candles in his memory.
No suspects were named and there were no arrests by press time Tuesday, police said.
West’s cousin, Dee Dee, said he worked for Bayside Movers in Jamaica.
The manager of the movers, who would only identify himself as Bill, said West worked on a temporary basis and helped truck drivers anytime they needed assistance with unloading goods.
The administrator remembered the victim as a hardworking man who was friendly.
“I felt terrible. I couldn’t believe it. He was a nice kid, very nice,” said Bill.
West’s murder was the last to take place in the 103rd Precinct in 2010. The station house, along with the other southeast Queens precincts, saw a surge in violent crime over the year with many shootings.
Most of those homicides are still under investigation.
In 2010, there were at least 15 reported murders in the 103rd Precinct, a 36 percent increase from the 11 reported killings during the same period last year, the latest police statistics that were dated Dec. 26 show. The precinct covers the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Hollis Park Gardens, Hollis and Lakewood.
Investigators and elected officials say two factors contributed to the rash of shootings. During the summer, some of the homicides involved shootings at large block parties. A rise in gang activity in southeast Queens communities has also led to more violence, investigators said.
In addition to the upswing in killings, the 103rd Precinct had an increase in robberies with 476 reported incidents this year compared to 380 during the same period in 2009, according to the NYPD.
Overall crime dropped 2.3 percent over the year with 1,685 total reported incidents in 2010 compared to 1,724 total incidents the year before, the stats showed.
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.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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