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Pair of Daytime Murders Leaves Jackson Heights On Edge

By Katie Honan | September 25, 2013 8:43am
 Two violent attacks within a few days, and one block, of one another has left Jackson Heights residents and business owners on edge.
Two violent attacks within a few days, and one block, of one another has left Jackson Heights residents and business owners on edge.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

JACKSON HEIGHTS — Two shocking daytime murders within days — and one block — of one another on Roosevelt Avenue have business owners and residents on edge, leading a politician to call for more police.

Both killings happened in broad daylight, and an arrest has been made in only one attack. In the wake of the incidents, state Sen. Jose Peralta, who represents the neighborhood, compared the area to the "old Times Square."

He urged the city to provide Jackson Heights with the same investment that was used in "purging Times Square of the sleaze that flourished there for so long."

Specifically, he cited prostitution, human trafficking and "other illicit enterprises and dangerous activities" as plaguing the stretch.

“The recent incidents of deadly violence on Roosevelt Avenue...underscore the fact that we need a lot more than trash bins and video cameras to make Roosevelt Avenue safe," he said.

A 33-year-old man, who has not been identified, was shot and killed Sept. 20 on Roosevelt Avenue near 89th Street, just days after another man was violently stabbed to death a block away.

In the earlier case, Ever Orozco, 69, was violently stabbed on Sept. 16 on 90th Street after dropping his wife off at the doctor in what investigators initially believed was an anti-gay attack.

The suspect, Steven Torres, 22, claimed Orozco made sexual advances toward him, but police dispute the claim.

Torres was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Shop owners near both incidents said the area has gotten more dangerous in recent years.

"I think police should do more, they should be more active," said Musarrat Chaudhary, 54, who works in her husband's stationery store on 90th Street, RS 2001, a few feet from where Orozco was stabbed.

Edwin De Jose, 64, owns a small locksmith store nearby, and has lived in Jackson Heights for more than 40 years. He said he's afraid to walk the three blocks between the shop and his home, and he usually takes a cab home late at night.

"I think twice about going past Roosevelt Avenue," he said. "A lot of things are going on that cops aren't looking at."

The latest available crime statistics for the precincts, through Sept. 15, showed a drop in murder from the year before — but it didn't include the most recent slayings. Murder was down 66 percent in the 110th Precinct, and down 60 percent in the 115th. Both precincts had two each.

Roosevelt Avenue is currently split between two precincts, with the 115th Precinct working on the north side and the 110th Precinct covering the south side.

Peralta called Monday for more cops and suggested having police from a single precinct police the busy thoroughfare.

He also called for bringing back the Roosevelt Avenue Task Force, which began in 1991 and was "successful in closing down brothels and fighting crime."

The group included members of the NYPD, FDNY and the Department of Buildings, who monitored illegal activity on the street.

The task force was so successful in closing down brothels and fighting crime, he said, it was disbanded in 1995.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.