Officials Announce Reward, Lighting and Surveillance Improvements After West Farms Murder
by David Greene
A day after the mother of his four children was gunned down, the unintended victim caught between two teenagers, Angel Rosario, 51, met with a few journalists across the street from where the killing took place, the dimly lit section of Boston Road at East Tremont Avenue in the West Farms section.
According to police Cindy Diaz, 48, was returning from McDonald’s when the still-unidentified gunman opened fire at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, January 6, striking Diaz in the chest. She died a short time later at St. Barnabas Hospital.
An unidentified 18 year-old man, whom police sources say was the intended target, was struck in his right forearm and was treated at Jacobi Hospital. That individual has refused to cooperate with instigators.
Unable to hold back the tears, Rosario recalled, “She was the greatest mother… and now I’ve got to deal with this again,” both breaking the tragic news to his four boys, age 11 through 15 and raising them without their mother.
In a year when latest NYPD homicide statistics are at an all-time low, Rosario gets no consolation from that fact, revealing that his brother was shot dead in the “El Barrio” section of Manhattan more than three decades ago.
An initial reward of $2,500 was offered by Crime Stoppers and local officials returned several days later to announce the reward now stands at $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Diaz’ killer, the fifth reported murder victim of 2017.
On January 11 local elected officials Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assemblyman Ritchie Torres and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda also announced grants totaling $525,000 for NYPD security cameras and safety improvements, such as better lighting for Council District 15, which includes the West Farms section. That funding is on top of the $500,000 Assemblyman Sepulveda has already obtained for the NYPD.
Officials also announced that the Department of Transportation will be conducting a study on area light fixtures, a problem that has plagued the area beneath the Elevated portion of the No. 2 and 5 Train for years.
During the press conference, Councilman Torres said, “This horrific tragedy has our entire community speechless and we must act now in order to prevent future acts of violence. By allocating more resources for safety improvements and pedestrian security.”
“This is a tragedy,” Sepuleda said bluntly, “that unfortunately keeps occurring in neighborhoods where guns, gangs and violence continue to be a blight.”
Diaz added, “Unlike other areas of New York City, the funding for safety and capital improvements here at Lambert Houses and in the West Farms neighborhood is long overdue. I am hopeful that funding from the City and the State that has finally been allocated to be used for our community, crime will decrease and our senior citizens and families will be safe.”
The press conference kicked off as Police Commissioner James O’Neil participated in the Human Justice Summit at the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church on East Gun Hill Road.