Michael Amon

Youth Is Being Questioned In Fatal Shooting of Girl, 11

Posted in Uncategorized by michaelamon on December 8, 2006

July 19, 2006 p. B3
Andrew Jacobs and Michael Amon

Investigators are questioning a teenager in the slaying of an 11-year-old Queens girl who was shot in the head late Monday by a gun fired from a passing car as she and her brother, seeking escape from the heat, frolicked in the spray of a fire hydrant, law enforcement officials said yesterday.

The youth, whose name was not released last night, fled to the Dominican Republic and was immediately sent back by Dominican officials at the request of the authorities in New York, officials said. The police said that as he and at least three other young men drove past the hydrant on 99th Street in Corona, one of them opened fire.

On the streets of Corona yesterday, residents mourned the violent death of the 11-year-old, Genesis Regalado, a friendly and bookish girl about to enter the seventh grade who was splashing around a rusty hydrant that sits across the street from her family’s apartment when she was shot, the police said. Hit once in the head, she collapsed into the arms of her older brother, Jeffrey, 17, and was pronounced dead 15 minutes later at Elmhurst Hospital Center.

”Jeffrey yelled out, ‘My sister, my sister, they got my sister,’ ” said Jose Paulino, 14, a cousin who was playing alongside Genesis, Jeffrey and two other young people when the gunfire erupted about 11:15 p.m. ”There’s nothing in the world she ever did to deserve this.”

According to the police, the bullet that struck Genesis may have been intended for one of the others cooling off in the hydrant’s spray — a 16-year-old identified by neighbors as David. In an interview, David, who declined to give his last name, said he had been in an argument involving a half-dozen neighborhood teenagers at a Chinese restaurant down the street. A short time later, David said, he saw four of the youths approach in a black Honda sedan.

”We were all getting water at the pump, laughing and playing,” David said. ”The last thing I heard Genesis say was, ‘I’m going to do good in school.’ ”

Three or four shots rang out, he said, and then he saw Genesis lying in her brother’s arms. The car, he said, sped away, heading north on 99th Street. ”She had the whole world coming to her,” David said.

He said he had given his account to the police, who confirmed many of the details.

A few hours after the shooting, the police found the car parked on a nearby street, and after questioning several youths who were involved in the earlier argument, they turned their attention to the teenager who fled to the Dominican Republic. As of last night, the police had not pressed charges against the youth, who was taken into custody at Kennedy International Airport and was being questioned at the 110th Precinct station house.

Several residents said the teenager being questioned frequently started fights. ”He’s a bad influence and knows how to manipulate young kids into making them do what he wants them to do,” said Michael Lucas, 42, whose 11-year-old son was a friend of the slain girl’s. ”I wouldn’t let my kids hang out with him.”

At Sherwood Village, the housing complex where Genesis lived, her mother and brother spent the day sequestered in their apartment while neighbors tended a makeshift memorial near the hydrant.

Those who knew Genesis described her as a precocious and courteous girl who could often be spotted playing baseball in the front yard of her building. One of her uncles, Dickson Regalado, shaking his head, said he could not understand why young men felt the need to settle petty disputes with deadly force.

”These young kids just talk trash and every once in a while it escalates,” he said. ”Unfortunately, Genesis was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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