Homeless man murdered in College Point

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A College Point man was arrested last week on charges he killed a homeless man called “Mouse” who lived in a small park along the East River when a fight broke out over a woman, police said.

Vadim Traut, 52, of 121-30 Fifth Ave. was detained in connection with the shooting death of Kevin Monroe, 46, police said.

Monroe was shot once in the back at about 9:52 p.m. last Thursday on a woodland parcel in College Point between Lax Avenue and the East River, police said.

Police then arrested Traut in a raid at his home, located a short walk from the scene of the shooting, authorities said.

Traut and Monroe were believed to have gotten into a fight over one of the women who lived in the colony, said a law enforcement source.

Traut had recently lost his engineering job and was in the process of divorcing his wife, according to published reports.

On Friday, Traut was arraigned in front of State Supreme Court Judge Pauline A. Mullings in Kew Gardens. He was ordered held without bail and was scheduled to appear in court Oct. 4.

A small homeless colony lives on the land where Monroe was killed, local residents said. The park, known as “The Box” to locals, is also frequented by teenagers at night. Shopping carts, garbage bags and leather boots were scattered about the property, which sits next to the College Point Yacht Club.

The relationship between the homeless living in the park and locals usually has been very peaceful, nearby residents said.

John Neugebauer, a neighbor of Traut, said Monroe was known throughout the neighborhood as “Mouse.”

“I’ve known Mouse since I was a kid,” Neugebauer said. “Everybody would go down to the park growing up.”

Neugebauer said he had not known Monroe was homeless.

“I never knew (Monroe) was his real name,” he said.

A woman who often spent time in the same house as Traut said he had lived there for about eight months.

“He was a really nice guy, really was,” she said. “I’m kind of shocked to even know he had a gun.”

The woman said Traut’s two young children lived with his wife, who has a nearby home.

“I feel bad for his family,” she said.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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