NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three recent shootings in Queens outside of a New York City Housing Authority complex have community leaders and victims’ families calling for a ceasefire and also justice.
On Wednesday night, a 32-year-old man sitting outside of the Woodside Houses told police a man came over to him, demanded money, and then shot him in the back.
On Tuesday, a 29-year-old was shot dead outside of the NYCHA complex.
And two weeks ago, at Broadway and 48th, innocent bystander Gudelia Vallinas, who was out running an errand, was struck and killed by a bullet fired during a dispute that began at Woodside Houses.
“She was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” godson Felix Vergara told CBS2’s Alice Gainer on Thursday.
Vallinas was a 37-year-old married mother of an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old. She also had six siblings and many godchildren.
“That pain will never go away. I will have to live that forever,” husband Alfredo Vallinas said.
“She was also my best friend, the one that whenever I needed her she would always be there,” niece Iris Vergara added.
Heartbroken family members joined local leaders Thursday in calling for action and people with information to come forward.
“Over the course of the last two or three weeks we’ve seen these streets turned into a war zone,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “We need to ensure that these young people are getting the investments that they need to stop these shootings. It’s about prevention.”
“Parents, take control of your household, where some of these children and young men are living,” added Annie Cotton Morris, the president of the Woodside Houses Tenant Association.
The family said Gudelia Vallinas would want them to forgive.
“She would never want us to feel hate in our hearts for the people that did this to her,” Iris Vergara said.
However, they still want justice.
“Today, it was my family. It was the Vallinas family. It was Gudelia. But tomorrow, it could be yours,” Alfredo Vallinas said.
There is a reward being offered for information that leads to an arrest.
Police said all of the incidents are still under investigation and would not comment on whether or not they might be gang related.