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Man fatally shot outside Rochdale Village

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A 20-year-old man was fatally shot on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, just a few blocks from his home, last week after he was seen in a dispute with about five men, police said.

Donnell Stevens, 20, of 134-25 166th Place, was shot in the chest in front of 134-18 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. at 12:40 p.m. last Thursday, police said.

He was taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica where he was pronounced dead, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Stevens was shot after he was seen arguing with four to six men at the corner of Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and 134th Avenue, police said. The men fled after Stevens was shot, police said. No arrests were made, and the investigation was continuing, police added.

Although police were still looking into the motive behind the shooting, residents from Rochdale Village and the surrounding neighborhood suspected it might be drug- or gang-related.

“We get a lot of drug activity and gang-related youths hanging out in the area,” said Clifton Diaz, president and founder of the Rochdale Village Civic Association. “It has been a problem for years in that area.”

Denise Card, a Jamaica resident who was a few blocks away on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard when the shooting happened, said that stretch of the boulevard has become a problem.

“They just hang out here all the time,” she said. “They’ve got the store owners too scared to say anything. The people of Rochdale Village need to clean up this boulevard.”

The fatal shooting is just one of a series of violent incidents around the Rochdale Village housing co-operative, which is home to about 25,000 people, Diaz said. Diaz cited a murder in front of Building 10 late last month, a shooting in Building 20 May 4, and the discovery of a dead person in Building 6 the same day Stevens was shot.

However, a spokesman for Rochdale Village’s in-house security force disputed Diaz’s claim, saying that there was only one shooting last month on the cooperative’s property.

But the security force should play a role in cleaning up the neighborhood, Diaz said.

“Something has to be done because this is outrageous,” he said. “The police can only give us so much attention.”

One of the problems exacerbating the situation around Rochdale Village is that the security force does not command the respect of some of the residents, Diaz said. The guards do not carry nightsticks or handcuffs, a spokeswoman from the 113th Precinct said. The in-house security force calls the police to handle most incidents, she said.

But Rochdale Village and neighborhood residents are getting fed up with the situation.

“I’m tired of hearing about the young people being shot,” said Tracey Hunter, who lives near the complex on 137th Avenue.

Diaz is concerned that the problem will only get worse as the weather gets warmer, he said.

“This is broad daylight with people on the street,” he said. “It’s only May—just imagine what the summer’s going to be like.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300 Ext. 138.

Posted 7:04 pm, October 10, 2011
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