By Howard Koplowitz
The family of a Richmond Hill teen who was mysteriously killed after being shot at point-blank range last month is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder.
Crimestoppers is also offering a $2,000 reward in an effort to find out who was behind the killing of 17-year-old Nicholas Cordova, who was gunned down near his 106th Street home Sept. 14.
Cordova was a senior at the High School of Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture in Richmond Hill and was looking forward to his graduation, according to his brother, Kevin Cordova.
“He aspired to be an engineer like his older brother,” said Kevin, 50.
Cordova is one of 10 adopted and biological children and the second-youngest of the family.
The teen’s death “is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with at 50 years old,” Kevin said. “My sons … were like brothers with Nick.”
Kevin said his 72-year-old mother, who adopted Nicholas when he was 5 days old, was distraught over the killing.
“It’s just a horrible experience for her,” he said. “We always called her the professional mom.”
“Overall, he was a good kid,” Kevin said. “He’s not a bad kid. This is senseless.”
The city Police Department has distributed wanted posters of one suspect who was seen carrying Nicholas’ bookbag.
Kevin said his brother enjoyed riding his bike in the neighborhood, sports and fishing and worked for Nemet Motors during the summer so he could save up to buy a car.
Kevin said he was hopeful police would eventually catch Nicholas’ killer, but some in his family believe the police were not working hard on the case.
“There’s a lot of the family that feel it’s lackadaisical, but I’m open-minded,” he said. “I’m optimistic.”
Deborah Mongiello, Nicholas’ sister, said she was told that up to three suspects may have been responsible and that police have not been sharing information with the family so the investigation will not be compromised.
“All we know is he was shot point-blank in the head,” she said. “It’s a terrible thing.”
Police told Kevin the case may take anywhere from days to years to solve but that they were leaning toward weeks, he said.
“They feel they have some good evidence they’re working with right now,” he said.
Kevin said his brother lived life to the fullest.
“Nick had a good life,” he said. “He went to private school. He had a short life, but a good life.”
Anyone with information on Nicholas’ murder is asked to call Crimestoppers at 718-577-TIPS.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.