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A Rosedale party promoter and rap group manager was shot to death Sunday after trying to break up a fight at a club on South Conduit Avenue a few blocks from his home, police said.
Family and friends of Winston Lightfoot, 31, who was affectionately known as John Gotti, said he was dropping off his cousin, Sabrina Green, 17, and her friends at the Queen Bee restaurant at 223-24 South Conduit Ave. Saturday night when he decided to go inside and make sure the teenagers were OK.
There was allegedly a dispute at the club between unidentified people, and Lightfoot tried to be a peacemaker, said Officer Pete Dwyer, a community affairs officer at the 105th Precinct. At press time, detectives were interviewing witnesses and continuing the investigation into Lightfoots death.
There were no arrests as of Tuesday evening, but police said they did have a chief suspect.
His fiancée, Michelle Russell, said witnesses told her that Lightfoot said there is no time to fight, we need to stop this right now.
One shot was fired, hitting Lightfoot in the chest at 12:52 a.m. Sunday, police said. Friends and family got the wounded man into a car and met an ambulance at a nearby firehouse.
Russell, who is 8 1/2 months pregnant, was at home when she got a call from Green and learned her fiancé had been shot. Russell said she could hear people in the background saying, Wake up, Gotti, dont fall asleep.
Lightfoot was taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital, where he died, police said. He got the nickname John Gotti after the notorious Gambino mob boss because he was known to win fights when he was young and he walked with a bounce like a gangster, friends and family said.
Russell met Lightfoot in 1998 and the two had lived together for the past three years. They had been planning to get married this summer.
In my 33 years of life he was the best, Russell said of Lightfoot . He loved to show his affection. Thats how he died, protecting his family.
Lightfoot grew up on the Island of Jamaica, where most of his family members, including his 10-year-old son, still live. He created an extended family network in Queens, looking after neighborhood teens and Russells two children.
Russells daughter, Shamara, 13, remembered Lightfoot as a caring and generous man. If he had 50 cents and was starving, hed give you the 50 cents, Shamara Russell said.
Lightfoot also had a 2-year-old daughter who lives with her mother in New York.
He and Michelle Russell were expecting their first child together, a daughter. Russell had a baby shower Jan. 13 a week before Lightfoots death.
Kids loved him, they looked up to him, Russell said. He acted as a mentor to them, he kept them off the streets.
Lightfoot worked as a party promoter and manager of singing and rap groups, including Deja Vu, a group made up of twin sisters Keisha and Ketisha Summerbell.
He was very encouraging, Keisha Summerbell said of Lightfoot. He always said dont give up. It was a pleasure working with him.
Friends and extended family who gathered at Lightfoot and Russells home on 223rd Street in Rosedale Monday said that from the first moment they met the man known as John Gotti, they felt like they had known him forever.
One of his friends, Shelly Gordon, said he was like my big brother. I still cant believe hes gone.
A memorial event will be held at the Q Club Thursday at 93-37 150th St. starting at 10 p.m. The funeral service is set for Sunday, but further details will be announced at the Q Club event. Donations are appreciated. To make a contribution, call Michelle Russell at 527-3877.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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