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Just hours before Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced that the city was “on course” to have the lowest number of murders since they started keeping records, a 35-year-old Hispanic man was bleeding to death in a Little Neck playground.
About 9:45 on the morning of Tuesday, December 26, police from the 111th Precinct responded to a call and found an unresponsive Domingo Hernandez lying face up in a pool of blood, according to a passing witness who requested anonymity. He was declared dead at the scene.
Hernandez was found lying near the sidewalk in the fenced-in handball courts at Admiral Park, a playground at the corner of Little Neck Parkway and 42nd Avenue in Little Neck, across the avenue from P.S. 94, the David D. Porter school, which was recently rated ‘A’ by the Department of Education.
According to the New York City Medical Examiner, the native of El Salvador was stabbed in the torso, slashed and bludgeoned in the face. No ID was found on the body, raising the possibility that robbery was a motive. Detectives have not said whether he was stabbed at the scene or transported to the location.
Hernandez reportedly shared a second floor apartment along with eight other immigrant workers at 251-20 Northern Boulevard, a mere four blocks from where he was found. There are no names on the door and the window blinds remain drawn.
According to roommates, on Christmas night, December 25, Hernandez received a phone call from a woman he did not know. After a conversation described as “flirtatious” he went out about 10 p.m. to meet her nearby. He never returned.
According to police, the playground was not known as a drug location. “The last complaint we had there was somebody stealing paving stones out of the playground,” a police source told The Queens Courier.
Local residents confirmed the quiet nature of the area, which made the crime all the more upsetting. “It’s crazy,” said 22-year-old Amy Hason, as she stared at discarded crime scene tape and bottles of bleach used by cops to wash away blood stains from the asphalt of the handball court.
Hason, a senior at an out-of-state college who has lived down the block from the playground “all my life,” mused that she and her brother had spent their entire childhood playing in the park and “never felt any danger.”
“The bigger kids would sometimes bully the little ones to get the handball court, that’s all,” Hason recalled. “We played handball here over Thanksgiving break,” she said, turning to go home.

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