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Murders fall in 109th as rapes rise

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In 2004, there were 12 murders in the northeast Queens precinct, three times as many as the four murders in 2003.Last year the total number of murders dropped to three in the 109th Precinct, which covers Flushing, College Point, Whitestone and Bay Terrace.The decline in murders is the third biggest decrease in Queens, following the 111th Precinct in Bayside, which dropped 100 percent with zero murders in 2005 compared with one murder in 2004, and the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood, which had two murders last year but nine in 2004.The first of the deadly incidents in the 109th Precinct occurred in March when 41-year-old Xian Quian Cheung was shot to death by her ex-lover, Michael Hicks, 51, in front of her 12-year-old daughter, Risa, inside a Flushing orthodontist's waiting room, police said.Hicks, who had previously spent four years in jail for murdering his girlfriend in the 1970s, later took his own life by shooting himself in the head while evading capture, police said.The next murder occurred in College Point on July 6 when Angel Flores, 36, allegedly stabbed his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, Carlo Mazzocchi, 28, several times in the torso after an argument, police said.Flores was arraigned Friday and charged with manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon, according to a spokesman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.Six days later, 20-year-old Maria Rubio was shot several times in the back of the head at a College Point house party allegedly by William Ramirez, 22, and Ramiro Pineda, 20, police said. Published reports said both men were members of the notorious El Salvador gang MS-13, and they shot Rubio for no reason.Both men were arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, said a DA spokesman.Although murders fell in the 109th Precinct, rapes rose by more than 50 percent to a total of 25.The most publicized incident occurred in August when 22-year-old Robert McKeon was tripping on hallucinogenic mushrooms and he decided tried to rape a 73-year-old woman practicing Tai Chi in Kissena Park, authorities said.Last week the district attorney announced that McKeon had pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges and was expected to be sentenced to four years in prison. The number of robberies throughout the 109th Precinct also rose significantly by 21.6 percent to a total of 376.Police at the 109th, however, arrested a suspected violent purse snatcher last week whom they believe is responsible for stealing the belongings of 15 different women in a two-month period.Grand larcenies dropped to 1,098 last year, a 16.3 percent decrease, but the 109th still has the largest number of such incidents in the borough.Grand larceny auto also dropped significantly by 23.7 percent from 624 in 2004 to 476 in 2005.In addition, felony assaults fell by 21.9 percent and burglaries dropped by 13.1 percent.The combined number of murders, rapes, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies and stolen cars totaled 2,678, a 13.81 percent decrease in overall crime from 2004 when the precinct recorded 3,107 total incidents.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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