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Slain jeweler mourned by neighbors

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A jewelry store owner and well-loved, longtime member of the Woodhaven community was shot to death during an attempted robbery at his Jamaica Avenue store Thursday morning, police said.

At press time, police were still searching for the shooting suspect, described as a black man with dreadlocks in his 20s who was wearing a black shirt and black pants. He was last seen departing the scene of the crime in a nondescript black vehicle, police said. It was not known if anything was removed from the store.

Steven Woo, 51, who lived at 85-34 91st St. near the jewelry store in Woodhaven, was shot once at 10:05 a.m. and died from his injury last Thursday, said Detective Nancy Yule, a police spokeswoman.

Police said Woo was shot in the abdomen, but Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, said he was shot in the right thigh. The bullet punctured the femoral artery, causing massive blood loss.

Woo died at 11:02 a.m. shortly after arriving at Jamaica Hospital, said Tara Fleming, a hospital spokeswoman.

The shooting occurred at W.S. Jewelry on a commercial strip on Jamaica Avenue, under the J and Z trains near the Woodhaven Avenue stop. The store awning features a drawing of a large diamond.

“I was sleeping when I heard screaming,” said Jasmin DeLeon, who lives nearby on 92nd Street. Her father and a friend went to the store, where they saw a pool of blood just inside the door, DeLong said.

“The guy who did it pushed the man out the back,” DeLeon said of the shooter, who apparently fled through the rear of the store. “It’s scary because it can happen to any of us.”

Woo lived a few blocks away from the jewelry store in a three-story, brick and frame home in a residential, middle-class area. His neighbors were shocked and saddened by Woo’s death.

“I knew the whole family,” said Mildred Ferchland, who has lived on nearby 92nd Street for 28 years. “They are very nice people.”

The family also owned a grocery store, Jea & Son Supermarket, a few shops down from the jewelry store on Jamaica Avenue.

“I knew Steve very well,” Ferchland said. “He was a wonderful person. To have this happen to him is a terrible thing.”

Ferchland said Woo and his family were immigrants who had been living in Woodhaven for at least 20 years. Woo was a member of the neighborhood block association and wrote for a local journal, Ferchland said.

“Everybody got along with him,” said Christina Yanne, who lives on 92nd Street less than a block from the jewelry store. “He was a nice guy.”

Yanne said Woo’s store was a family business. He fixed watches and sold bracelets, rings and other jewelry, she said.

Florence Majorski went to Woo’s store when her watch battery needed to be replaced. “I feel bad,” she said. “He was a nice gentleman.”

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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