Victor Mejia, 28, left Mexico and came to Corona with the hope of leading a better life with his wife Candelaria Rodriguez. He found a job as a pizza deliveryman and was willing to work hard to build a future. The two were sending some money to Mejia’s ailing mother in Mexico and saving what they could. They hoped someday to have children.
That dream was put on hold last week by a couple of thugs who were willing to kill Mejia if necessary for the few dollars that deliveryman carried in his pocket. Police allege Jorge Paret, 28, and Anardo Batista, 23, of Jackson Heights asked to have a pizza delivered and then beat Mejia with a baseball bat. As of this writing, Mejia remains in a coma at Elmhurst Hospital. His accused attackers are at Rikers Island awaiting trial.
To their credit, City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman are working to cut the red tape so that Mejia’s sister can come to Queens to be by her brother’s side. If he lives, it is possible Mejia will be paralyzed for life.
On the next night, Matthew Gray, 27, was shot to death on a quiet residential street in Queens Village. Police still do not know who put a bullet through Gray’s head or why.
So far this year in the 105th Precinct, which includes Queens Village, 13 people have been murdered. That is more than double the number of killings from the previous year.
The growing violence in Queens is staggering. Law enforcement experts say there are young people whose conscience has been so deadened that they can beat a man nearly to death with a bat or shoot a man to death with absolutely no feelings of remorse. These are not acts of hatred or uncontrolled anger. They are acts of coldness.
‘No Greater Champion’
Republican State Senate Leader Dean Skelos issued a statement last week bidding farewell to Sen. Frank Padavan, who was defeated by former Councilman Tony Avella:
“For almost four decades the people of Queens and all of New York City have had no greater champion in this state than Sen. Frank Padavan. Sen. Padavan leaves public service with the thanks and admiration of the countless people that he has helped over the years.”