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Police looking for witnesses in Bland slay

TimesLedger Newspapers

Police from the 109th Precinct said residents know who shot and killed 21-year-old Alex Botero in Flushing’s Bland Houses Halloween evening, but cops cannot make an arrest until someone comes forward with a name.

“They know who it is and we need them to come forward,” said Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct. “The community is not cooperating.”

He said witnesses in the Houses know who shot Botero once in the head inside an elevator at the complex, at 40-21 College Point Blvd., at around 5:45 p.m.

He was later taken to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, where he was pronounced dead.

Residents said he was later buried on his birthday.

City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) held a meeting Tuesday night with the New York City Housing Authority to talk about $100,000 for security cameras that he allocated in the previous fiscal year.

Koo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) have collectively allocated a total of $400,000 each for the Bland and Latimer Houses since then.

Koo scheduled the meeting months ago, but the discussion of new security measures and cameras will have gained new importance after the recent violence.

The precinct has held meetings and had discussions with members of the community about the recent spate of shootings at the Houses, according to Maguire.

On Sept. 10, 21-year-old Marquis McKinney was shot in his upper thigh as he waited around outside 133-50 Roosevelt Ave. for a friend, according to his sister, Diamond Peterson.

Two days later, gunfire broke out again the houses, according to state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing).

Aside from those incidents and another beating, all of which might be related, Maguire said other types of crime have been down at the Houses.

But if no one can come forward with the names of the perpetrators in the most recent shooting, then legally speaking the precinct’s hands are tied on making an arrest.

Even on the day of the incident, the precinct only received one 911 call, according to police, who have posted patrolmen around the clock at the houses.

Bland House residents insinuated that a “no snitch” culture at the Houses prevents those who have information about the crime from speaking out for fear of retribution. If someone speaks to authorities, he or she might be attacked physically or even killed, residents said.

And, in this case, that fear and silence is preventing the police from making an arrest, cops said.

But police said that there were many ways to report a crime anonymously.

The 109th Precinct even gave out what are called gun-stopper cards. They can be anonymously submitted to the NYPD with information about anyone possessing a firearm. Each card has a unique code that is used instead of a name, and if the information leads to an arrest, the city gives $1,000 to the unnamed person.

The precinct has not received any of the cards back despite canvassing the houses with them.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Antoinette Carona Botero from Flushing says:
There are so many of you out there that know who shot my son, we all know....some one saw something. Enough with the code of silence in the Bland, you where given cards...your identify is protected! Why are you letting him get away with MURDER! Would you break the code of silence if it was your child? He was my ONLY child, my life....Who gives anyone the right to take ones LIFE!! Someone please, I beg of you..put yourself in my shoes...someone just CALL...use the card. AntoinetteCarona@Gmail.Com....don't let this cold blooded murder walk through the Bland as he was doing after he shot my Alex....Let him rot in jail...but, for MURDER, not drugs, guns...and every other thing he is being arrested for lets clean up the streets and gets guns off the streets and keep murder's behind bars! I beg of you!
May 20, 2013, 3:31 pm

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