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Man Plunges From Roof of East Harlem Building

By  Victoria Bekiempis and Jess Wisloski | April 1, 2013 6:23pm 

EAST HARLEM — A man fell from the roof of a six-story building East Harlem on Monday and died at a nearby hospital, officials said.

The victim, whose identity was not immediately released, fell from the roof of a Lexington Avenue building near East 104th Street at 1:40 p.m., landing in the street, officials and witnesses said.

The incident was "being viewed as a suicide," an NYPD spokesman said.

A woman working at El Paso Taqueria, which was closed off by police tape as detectives swarmed the building to investigate, said by phone that the impact made a loud noise.

"It was like a boom," said the employee, who did not want her name used. "We thought it was a car accident."

She said several restaurant staffers went outside when they saw people gathering in the street around the victim.

Neighbors described the victim as a local fixture and said he would be missed.

"We used to hug each other every day," said Tito Rivera, 51, a professor who lives nearby. "He was a good guy. He had a very good voice."

Another resident said the victim had seemed fine on Sunday.

"I just saw him yesterday," said Jose Rodriguez, 43, who was intermittently sobbing. "He was OK. He always used to ask me for cigarettes."