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Cops Search for Man Suspected of Killing Upper West Sider in Queens

By Jess Wisloski | February 3, 2013 5:09pm

ASTORIA — A Manhattan man was shot in the chest and killed Saturday night, while hanging out in the neighborhood where he used to live, police and reports said.

Francisco Leal, 27, of West 63rd Street in Lincoln Square, had been leaving a liquor store in his old neighborhood near 21st Street and 41st Avenue when he was approached at 9:40 p.m. by two men, relatives told the NY Post on Sunday.

Leal pulled out a bottle from his purchase as if to defend himself, the relatives told the paper, but one of the men shot him in the chest, police said.

The victim was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Family members told the Post that Leal grew up in the Queensbridge Houses, and said he'd worked for FEMA on recovery demolition following Hurricane Sandy. He also was a rapper, they told the paper. 

In an interview with the Post, Leal's distraught mother blamed the city's gun crisis.

"I'm not supposed to bury my child at the age of 27, a month shy of his 28th birthday, because of the guns of New York. It needs to stop," the paper quoted Milagros Ortega saying. Relatives did not know if the victim was targeted or why he might have been shot, according to the paper.

Police said an investigation was ongoing.