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Community Board 4 Votes to Rename Intersection After Brandon Romero

By Mathew Katz | February 3, 2012 12:33pm

HELL'S KITCHEN — To family and friends, Brandon Romero was a hero who selflessly sacrificed himself to save his cousin from a vengeful ex-boyfriend at a Fulton Houses murder-suicide in December.

Now their push to memorialize Romero has taken a big leap forward: Community Board 4 voted unanimously at a meeting on Wednesday to ask the city to rename the intersection of Ninth Avenue and West 19th Street — where Romero grew up — after him.

Romero, 20, was shot and killed on Dec. 12, 2011 when he accompanied his cousin, Jamie Cruz, to retrieve belongings from her ex-boyfriend, Kenneth Waldron, 29, at Waldron's apartment in the Fulton Houses at 413 W. 16th St.

Relatives and cops said Waldron pulled out a gun and Romero was shot trying to stop him from getting to his cousin, allowing Cruz time to escape safely. Waldron shot and killed himself immediately afterward.

"I just wanted to remind you all that everything that I’m doing is out of positivity and everything I’m doing is for the future of the community," said Romero's brother, Frank, 25, who's led the charge to change the street name.
"I’m not trying to see Dec. 12 as the day that my brother died. I’m trying to see it as the day his legacy was born."

Romero's relatives said the hope for the renamed intersection was to inspire local kids growing up in the Fulton Houses to make the sort of life choices he did — Romero never drank or smoked and was in love with fitness, they said.

"He may be a young individual, many times we expect this sort of thing to be about somebody old and retired," said Miguel Acevedo, a board member and head of the Fulton Houses Tenants' Association.

"But he did a lot and he’s a person I think would make many changes if he was here in the future."

Frank Romero, along with his brother Maxwell, had gathered more than 2,000 signatures on paper and online petitions in support of renaming the intersection. Romero's supporters had turned up in full force at Community Board 4 meetings for the past month to argue their case.

The board's recommendation now goes to the City Council, which has final say on the renaming of the street.