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The new year was a little more than an hour old when New York City experienced its first homicide in 2021 with the death of one of three shooting victims at a Queens hotel.
Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to a call regarding the shooting just after 1 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 1. Upon their arrival, officers discovered three people had been shot.
One victim, a 20-year-old man was shot in his torso, police said, while a 40-year-old man was shot in the torso, arms and legs. Another 20-year-old man was shot in the leg, according to authorities.
EMS arrived at the scene and transported one of the 20-year-old men to NYC Health & Hospitals/Queens, where he was pronounced dead, police said. The 40-year-old man was transported to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition, and the second 20-year-old victim was transported to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Queens in stable condition, police said.
A police spokesperson said the victims were together at the hotel and engaged in a dispute with a group of approximately five people before the shooting.
The identity of the shooting victims are being withheld until the families have been notified and it is not known if the victims are related, police said. There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.
The Umbrella Hotel in Kew Gardens has been under fire amid a string of violent incidents and was recently hit with more than a dozen violations from the city.
In November, the mayor’s office approved a Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) Operation. Participating agencies included the NYPD, FDNY, DEP, DOB and the Sheriff’s Office. The initial operation yielded 13 summonses from the NYPD, FDNY and DOB.
The hotel, located at 124-18 Queens Blvd., was given court appearances tickets and several fines. A second inspection was conducted, during which FDNY found multiple fire safety violations, including defective fire alarm systems and pumps.
The hotel was also issued two criminal summonses in addition to the earlier violations.
The operation comes after months of community outrage and public statements from local elected officials, who issued a letter to the mayor’s office in August requesting action and assistance for the 102nd Precinct in shutting down the hotel, according to Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal.
“The MARCH operation was a good first step in bringing these concerns to the forefront of enforcement, but we need continued cooperation from the city to ensure that violent crimes and public health violations come to an end at this location. We cannot accept anything less,” Rosenthal said in November.
In August, the front door of the hotel was sprayed with bullets, as it was the scene of a drive-by shooting, according to officials. A separate shooting incident took place at the hotel on July 3. Residents had complained of illegal activity and loud parties taking place at the hotel, disrupting the quality-of-life in the neighborhood.
Senator Leroy Comrie in November said the 102nd Precinct has been focused on containing and preventing criminal activity at the hotel.
“I am pleased to see that Captain [Antonio] Fidacaro and his command are beginning to receive the multi-agency support that they need to put an end to this nonsense,” Comrie said. “I remain in lockstep with the 102nd Precinct, Assemblymember Rosenthal, and my locally elected colleagues in working towards a full resolution to this problem.”
On behalf of the Kew Gardens community and herself, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz issued a sincere thank-you to Ficadaro for his resolute determination to bring the “indefensible and outrageous” situation at the hotel under control.
“Hopefully, this mayoral multi-agency response under the captain’s leadership will provide the impetus for shutting down the Umbrella Hotel,” Koslowitz said.