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Off-duty Rikers officer killed at Jamaica party

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An off-duty Rikers Island corrections officer known as “a natural leader” was killed and three other people were wounded after gunfire erupted Saturday at a Jamaica social hall, police said.

Gregory Goff, 24, an off-duty officer with the city Department of Corrections, was shot once in the torso after a dispute at the Lebanon Lodge No. 54, a Masonic hall at 107-51 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., police said.

Goff, of South Jamaica, died at Mary Immaculate Hospital half an hour after the 3 a.m. shooting, police said.

Two others were in stable condition at Mary Immaculate Hospital, including a 23-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the arm and a 27-year-old man shot once in the buttocks, police said.

The two had been released from the hospital by Tuesday.

A 37-year-old woman shot once in the leg was in stable condition at Jamaica Hospital, police said.

The names of the three wounded victims were not released.

Councilman Allan Jennings (D-Jamaica), who was briefed by police on the shooting, said Saturday morning that a man fired a gun after a dispute over a woman at the lodge, where a birthday party was being held.

Published reports said the shooter dropped the gun, which was picked up and fired by two other people at the party. Police said the corrections officer was not specifically targeted.

No arrests had been made in the incident as of Tuesday night.

Corrections Department spokesman Tom Antenen said Goff, who did not fire his gun in the shooting, had worked for the agency since June 2002 and was assigned to Rikers Island.

Tracy Hunt, a receptionist at a medical clinic next door to the Lebanon Lodge, said the hall had been rented out by the Masons for years without any problems.

“That’s one place you don’t hear it,” Hunt said of Saturday’s violence. “That’s why I’m surprised. They’re very selective (about) who they rent it out to.”

Marilyn Hoyt, deputy director of external affairs at the New York Hall of Science, said Goff had worked at the museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park for five years as part of the Science Career Ladder before he joined the Corrections Department.

He was so good at teaching children, training school teachers and giving demonstrations that Nortel Networks recognized him by underwriting his employment at the Hall of Science, said Hoyt.

“He was a very charismatic man and a natural leader,” said Hoyt.

Hoyt said the corrections officer had met with the museum’s education director just two days before his death to discuss bringing the hall’s star laboratory to young Rikers inmates. She said Goff had planned to study forensic science at St. John’s University and join the FBI.

“He was a real star. It’s such a waste. No one can believe it,” said Hoyt.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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