By Gabriela Resto-Montero
EAST HARLEM — The scene at Orbit bar and restaurant Thursday night was just the way Adan Gonzalez loved it.
The salsa band was cued up and friends from work and the neighborhood gathered to party at the bar, located on First Avenue and E. 116th Street.
Where Gonzalez, 28, usually tore it up on the dance floor, Orbit owner Dee Hengstler set up a microphone for community leaders to urge witnesses to the East Harlem resident's murder on Saturday night to come forward.
"The NYPD needs to put all of their resources to try to find the people who committed this crime," said Fernando Mateo, president of Hispanics Across America.
Gonzalez, a medical assistant at Columbia Presbyterian, was found dead a few blocks from Orbit Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. with a butcher knife in his chest and his wallet and phone missing, according to published reports.
Prior to the rally, members of the NYPD Crime Stoppers Unit papered the block with information about the crime, requesting witnesses to step forward.
Officers with the Community Affairs office also stopped by to speak with residents.
Gonzalez's friends struggled with the loss of a beloved man in the community.
"The brutality of it for a cell phone and maybe a little bit of money is unthinkable," Hengstler said.
Friends scrawled notes on posters bearing Gonzalez's pictures posted around the restaurant remembering his smile, kindness and love for his family.
"Wherever Adan was there was music playing," said Jeanette Pagan, who worked with Gonzalez at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. "He picked up the phone and it sounded like a party."
Money raised at the gathering would benefit Gonzalez's mother and sister.
Community leaders said they would pressure elected officials to make surveillance cameras available.
Anyone with information on the murder Adan Gonzalez is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.