The close-knit block of S. 3rd Street between Marcy Avenue and Havemeyer Street is still reeling from the loss of resident Richard Duran, 22, who died last Monday from gunshot wounds sustained after midnight Friday at the MTA bus depot on Broadway and Roebling Street.
Meanwhile, the suspected gunman, Michael Torres, 18, of Bushwick Avenue, is on the run in Florida, according to some local residents.
The shooting resulted from a verbal altercation between two groups of males at the Giglio Festival at Mt. Carmel Church (1 Havemeyer Street) earlier that night.
At the festival–which Duran did not attend–a friend of Duran’s was overheard yelling obscenities on the phone to his girlfriend, witnesses said.
But a nearby male mistakenly believed these obscenities to be directed at him, witnesses said. This misunderstanding caused a verbal altercation between people from S. 3rd Street and people associated with S. 9th Street.
At least some of those associated with S. 9th Street were affiliated with the Brooklyn Bad Boys, a local gang with ties to the Bloods for whom S. 9th Street a home base, according to cops and neighborhood residents.
This verbal altercation continued when the two groups made their way from the festival on the Northside down to the Southside, witnesses said.
According to these witnesses, tensions escalated when those associated with S. 9th Street threw glass bottles in the middle of S. 3rd Street on two occasions.
This prompted a group from S. 3rd Street – which included Duran – to follow the other group to S. 9th Street. On the way there, in the bus depot, a shooter – suspected to be Torres – fired four shots into a crowd of S. 3rd Street residents.
One bullet hit Duran under his cheekbone, tearing through two arteries and causing massive blood loss. Duran was transported to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and died Monday from complications from the wounds.
In the aftermath of the incident, S. 3rd Street residents have been incensed by the depiction in newspapers that Duran’s death resulted from a dispute between rival gangs. They believed this description trivialized their neighbor’s death and gave the impression that he was somewhat culpable.
“On this block, we’ve never been gang-affiliated – none of us were ever into gangs,” said Michael Candelier, a family friend of Duran’s.
“On their end [S. 9th Street], it’s gang related. On our end, it isn’t. Yeah, we hang out here, but it’s more like we’re a big family. It’s people cousins, uncles, brothers.”
But according to a police source, “The victim doesn’t show up as a gang member, but there are some gang undertones to this. He may have been affiliated with a group.”
When told of this, Candalier said: “That’s their attitude toward all Hispanics on the Southside. If they see you in a group and you’re Hispanic, boom, you’re in a gang.”
Residents of S. 3rd Street described Duran as a responsible, kind-hearted young man who was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.
He held two jobs: one as a courier for Success Express, a package delivery service used mostly by businesses, and another at a private beach club in Sea Gate.
Friends described his interests as pretty typical for a young man: he loved sports and video games. He was also a big fan of the band Linkin Park.
Duran attended Progress High School – part of the Grand Street Campus – as well as Junior High School 50 and PS 84. He was also a former student at the El Puente after-school Beacon program.
“He was a unique person – that’s why everyone’s so sad,” said friend Shabrily Gil.
(Gil said she was a friend of Torres’ sister, who told her that Torres had called her in a panic after the shooting.)
“Everybody loved his smile,” said Alex Munoz, another friend of Duran’s. “He was a good kid – he had his jobs, his girlfriend. He never looked for problems at all.”
“He had a heart of gold,” added Herbie Morales, his brother-in-law. “How am I supposed to explain to my son that his uncle just got killed for no reason?”
The police source said cops are investigating the possibility that the shooting was related to a machete attack on S. 3rd and Berry Street later that night. Cops recently arrested Edwin Fermin, 18, of Kent Avenue in connection with the attack.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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