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Cops Identify Person of Interest in Chelsea Houses Murder

By Mathew Katz | July 13, 2012 4:17pm
A memorial for 19-year-old Dante Sanders, who was gunned down on Monday.
A memorial for 19-year-old Dante Sanders, who was gunned down on Monday.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — Police have identified a person of interest in Monday's murder of a 19-year-old man at the Chelsea Houses.

Cops said they were following leads and "looking into a person of interest" in the slaying of Dante Sanders, who was shot multiple times in the torso at 415 W. 25th St. shortly after 2 a.m. on Monday.

Community leaders, politicians and Sanders' family rallied at the plaza where the victim was gunned down Friday to show their support for police and pledged to end violence in public housing around the city.

The rally came just days after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly blasted leaders in communities of color for being "shockingly silent" following a wave of violent gun crime.

"It's true, it's black and Latino on black and Latino crime and we have to stop it today," said Miguel Acevedo, who heads up the tenants' association the the Fulton Houses, where a man was gunned down in December.

"We need to admit it's our own killing our own."

Acevedo said that public housing communities needed to do more to cooperate with police, along with encouraging their kids to participate in youth-oriented programs, including those at the Hudson Guild, which is just across the street.

Sanders' aunt, Lasharne Sanders, wiped away tears while talking about her nephew.

"We all make bad choices in our lives, but he wasn't a bad person," she said.

"He was 19 years old, but he lived like he was a grown man."

Friends and family set up a small memorial outside the plaza where Sanders was shot — a photograph scrawled with messages remembering his life.

Lasharne said that Sanders had spent some time in jail — where he would call her up and sing to her — but was always concerned about getting enough food on the table for his eight brothers and sisters.

"He didn't only hold down himself," she said. "He held down his whole household."

Local politicians, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane, and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried all spoke out against the recent spate of violence in public housing.

"All of us, whether we live in [public housing] or not are going to stand together to make sure the residents of our developments are safe," said Quinn.

"And that people who are targeting these developments as criminals are capture, held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."