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In a disturbing echo of a crime committed more than a decade ago, a Corona clerk was fatally shot by a robber in a South Jamaica bodega where another clerk had previously died.
“It was just senseless, barbaric,” said Orlando Rosario of 65-year-old victim Jorge Marte’s death. “There was no point.”
Rosario said Jorge Marte, who lived at Corona Avenue and 98th Street with Rosario, worked seven days a week at a bodega in Corona and the Melani Grocery Store, at 112-44 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., in South Jamaica. Rosario’s father Jose owned both bodegas and employed Marte as a clerk.
Police said the perpetrator, described as a black male of indeterminate age and wearing a light-colored mask, entered the store and produced a firearm.
Marte was working at the South Jamaica store Friday evening when a man came in acting hostile and demanding money, Orlando Rosario said. When Marte refused to give him any money, the man shot him in the chest once.
“The guy didn’t even steal no money because there was no money in the store,” Orlando Rosario said.
Police responded to the scene around 10:05 p.m. and found Marte with one gunshot wound to his torso, NYPD said. Marte was taken by EMS to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
There have been no arrests and police were still investigating as of press time Tuesday evening.
Orlando Rosario said this was the second death to occur at Melani. More than a decade ago, he had lost another one of his “uncles” there, Santos Rubio, who was working at the store.
“And both people were very humble, never hostile,” Orlando Rosario said. “The purest people.”
Residents and employees remembered Marte, who they called “Jorgie” as a kind man.
A woman who gave her name as Niecy who works near the store covered her mouth and gasped when she heard Marte was dead. She said the man never had a problem with anyone in the community.
“It couldn’t have been no person with a vendetta,” Niecy said.
She said she suspected the robber had hit other locations in the area, including the business where she works. She also said a group of young people hang around the neighborhood in the evening and she thought it may have been a person in that group.
Another resident who did not give his name said he went to Melani every day to buy a gallon of milk. He showed up about 45 minutes after the incident Friday and saw the roads closed off.
“He seemed to be a pretty nice guy,” the neighbor said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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