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$12,000 Reward Offered in South Slope Homicide

By Leslie Albrecht | January 11, 2013 2:46pm

SOUTH SLOPE — Cops are offering a $12,000 reward for information that will bring Jesus Morales' killer to justice.

The 67-year-old businessman was killed during a robbery about 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 9 as he made his way home to Long Island from his Fifth Avenue travel agency, according to the NYPD.

Morales was thrown to the ground by a robber who stole his wedding ring and other valuables, police said. He was attacked in front of 255 18th St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, a quiet residential block.

At least two witnesses saw the suspect, who was wearing all black, including a black mask.

Investigators believe the brutal crime was a "robbery gone wrong," according to a law enforcement source.

"The [perpetrator] just thought he was going to steal some property from the guy and no one would get hurt," the source said. "Unfortunately, a life was lost, and he was a good guy, a staple in the community for years.

"It's a real shame," the source added.

On Friday reward posters lined the Fifth Avenue commercial strip where Morales had operated Ramirez Travel Service for more than 20 years, according to South Slope News. A bouquet of white roses adorned the travel agency's front door as a memorial to Morales.

The Merrick resident had a 22-year-old daughter and had been married to his wife, Esmeralda, for 25 years.

"My only hope is for justice — that they catch the guy," an employee at Ramirez Travel Service said as tears filled her eyes on Friday.

She declined to comment further.

Homicides are relatively rare in the 72nd Precinct, which covers Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace and the South Slope.

In 2012 there were two homicides; the previous year, there were five, according to NYPD data.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. All callers to Crime Stoppers remain anonymous. Callers regarding this case should refer to Crime Stoppers poster number BK-2414 when calling.