By Rebecca Henely
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said Wednesday the murder of a 53-year-old teacher has the elements of an anti-gay attack.
“The horrific crime committed against David Rangel, an openly gay public school teacher who lived in one of the city’s most tolerant communities, is deeply distressing,” Dromm said in a statement.
Dromm, who is openly gay, once worked as a fourth-grade teacher in the city’s public school system.
Rangel, of 91st Street and 32nd Avenue, was found to have died from compression in the neck and torso, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said Tuesday.
No arrests have been made in his death. Police received the 911 call Sunday at 6:45 p.m., the NYPD said.
“Crimes like these underscore the importance of having hate crime laws in place that protect New Yorkers from any kind of prejudice and discrimination,” Dromm said.
Rangel was originally born in Monterrey, Mexico, and worked at PS/MS 219, at 144-39 Gravett Road in Flushing, teaching Spanish to seventh- and eighth-graders, as well as English as a second language, DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said. The biography on the school website said he lived in Houston for many years, where he taught and received a master’s degree in Spanish literature.
“I am very happy to be part of this wonderful professional community,” Rangel wrote on his PS/MS 219 website. “The students at 219 are also very special to me.”
PS/MS 219 has implemented a crisis team to help counsel students, Feinberg said.
Rangel’s body was found shortly after Michael Infante, 24, was found dead inside a home on 59th Place near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway close to the Woodside/Maspeth border, the NYPD said. Police discovered his body after a 911 call came in at 10:15 Saturday and pronounced Infante dead at the scene, the authorities said.
The medical examiner did not find any criminality in the case of Infante’s death, police said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.