Today’s news:

Murder witness slain in Cambria Heights

Duckens Laranche, the owner of a barbershop who was a witness to a Cambria Heights murder last year, was gunned down in front of his home last week, police said.

Laranche, 28, who owned the Lot Nevo Barbershop at 227th Street and Linden Boulevard, was found shot in his Lincoln Navigator on Halloween at 1:20 a.m. in front of his home at 227-53 Murdock Ave. in Cambria Heights, police said.

“I don’t know much about what happened because we were sleeping,” said Judith Laranche, Duckens’ sister. “We heard the police knocking and when we came out, Duckens was on the ground.”

Rosite Nicholas said she had not been able to discover what had happened to her nephew but thought the men who shot him three times were somehow involved with the murder of Youius Lafalouse, 52, in the basement of the barbershop Oct. 27, 2000.

She said she thought the gunmen were waiting for Laranche — a married father of a one-year-old daughter — outside his home or followed him there.

Laranche, who immigrated to the United States from Haiti with his family in 1991, was a witness to the murder of Lafalouse, who was killed when four men burst into an illegal gambling club in the basement of the barbershop at the time called La Belle Creole.

The Queens district attorney said five men were arrested in the Lafalouse murder, two of whom have entered plea bargain agreements. The three others are awaiting trial for murder.

“He tried to eke out a living for himself and his family,” Nicholas said, “and they took that away from him.”

Police were looking into whether the Laranche shooting was related to the Lafalouse murder.

There have been no arrests in the Laranche shooting and police were investigating.

“He was full of life,” Nicholas said. “He was 28 years young.”

Judith Laranche said that besides owning the barbershop, her brother worked as a DJ in clubs and at private functions. She said he was a nice, good-hearted and kind man who would do anything for anyone. If he said he could not help, it was because he had too much going on to lend a hand, she said.

“He didn’t think anyone could do any bad to him,” Judith Laranche said. “He was very naive that way. He never paid attention when people did something bad to him.”

The barbershop, in the heart of Cambria Heights’ shopping district on Linden Boulevard, is on the same street as a medical center, a tailor, hairdresser, day-care center and a community center.

Police said the Lafalouse shooting took place after gunmen burst into the Haitian club around 2:30 a.m. when one of the patrons decided to leave the shop. Police said when the suspected gambler opened the shop’s door, the four gunmen pushed their way into the unlicensed gambling club.

Once inside the club, the gunmen demanded that all the patrons remove their clothes and hit the floor, the NYPD said.

When the gunmen turned to Lafalouse, of 185-09 Henderson St. in Hollis, he refused to follow their orders and one of the four men pulled out a gun and shot him in the stomach and leg. He was taken to North Shore University Hospital, where he died.

Police said the men robbed about 10 people before they reached Lafalouse and fled after the shooting.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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