Oakland Gardens shocked after shooting at judge’s home

Oakland Gardens shocked after shooting at judge’s home
By Nathan Duke

The neighbors of a Queens Supreme Court judge said they were shocked that bullets were fired into his Oakland Gardens home last week as police continued to search for culprits in the incident.

Two bullets were found lodged in the home of State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho near 64th Avenue in Oakland Gardens just after 4 a.m. Aug. 12 and another two bullets struck the side of the house, police said.

Camacho, who had worked in the past as a prosecutor against drug dealers and murderers, had been on vacation with his family at the time of the shooting and his house had been empty, police said.

Several detectives standing guard outside his house last week said the judge was not making any comments on the incident.

But neighbors said they were shocked to hear bullets flying in their quiet community.

“It's very odd, very strange for such a quiet neighborhood,” neighbor Kathy Peknic said. “Nothing like this ever happens on this block.”

Resident Yeong Tam said the late-night shots woke him up. He said he heard a car take off after the shooting.

“I was asleep, but I woke up when I heard the shots,” he said. “I checked the windows and went back to sleep.”

Neighbor Lawrence Lefkowitz said he stepped outside when he saw the police arrive on the scene.

“I heard four shots and then a burglar alarm went off,” he said. “Nothing in regard to guns has ever happened here before.”

Police said they were still investigating the incident and that no arrests have been made.

Camacho had currently been working as an acting Supreme Court justice on domestic violence cases in the Kew Gardens courthouse.

But the judge was part of a team that helped bring down notorious Washington Heights gang Jheri Curls, a Dominican narcotics ring that was busted by police in the early 1990s.

According to published reports, police were investigating a member of the gang whom Camacho had sentenced to prison and was recently released, as well as a 20-year-old neighbor who may have mistakenly targeted the judge's house after he recently broke up a fight between two men on the block.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.