NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The NYPD is looking for a rooftop sniper as a Queens family gets ready for the funeral of the man they called a father, cousin and uncle.
It happened while most were just beginning the holiday weekend. Now police are asking for help from the public.
They gathered in a Queens living room Monday night picking through photographs of the sniper’s victim. Jorge Martinez was shot dead on a Brooklyn street Friday.
“They want to prove something? Why they do that,” Martinez’s cousin Jimmy Duarte asked.
Martinez died at the wheel of his delivery van at the start of the holiday weekend– a Friday night shooting both brutal and senseless, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported. The bullets rained down on Avenue X in Gravesend as Martinez drove by with a load of bread. Struck in the head, he probably never knew what hit him.
“I’m very sad. I feel sorry for him, he lost his life this way,” witness Milene Quesada said.
It appears the shots came from the roof of the Marlboro Houses nearby and may have been fired, detectives surmised, by a gunman who was either amusing himself or trying out a new weapon.
Police found 9 millimeter shell casings on the roof of the building as well as bullet holes in some of the parked cars down on Avenue X. Neighbors say they heard what sounded like gunshots for quite some time before the victim was shot.
“I heard over 20 to maybe 30, but I thought it was fireworks…over the course of several hours. I can’t believe it. This is not a hunting ground…this is a residential neighborhood. This is not the woods,” neighbor Robert Cale said.
Martinez is the divorced father of two teenage children — both deep in shock over the death of their father.
“They’re devastated. His daughter, she just cries every day. It’s hard to see them, because they just cry and cry,” cousin Lucy Duarte said.
“He’s my cousin. He’s supposed to be with me. He’s my cousin,” another cousin Maria Duarte said.
Tuesday was Martinez’s son’s 15th birthday. He’d planned to spend it with his father.
Instead he was preparing for a memorial service on Wednesday, before his father’s body was to be brought back to his native Ecuador for burial.