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Man shot and killed in South Jamaica coming home from work

By Rich Bockmann

A 48-year-old man was shot dead after midnight Monday at the corner of the South Jamaica block where he lived with his husband, police and a family member said.

Mohammed Hamwi was gunned down near the 173rd Street Playground and 105th Avenue, police said.

When emergency responders arrived around 12:15 a.m., they found Hamwi with one gunshot wound to his midsection and another to his head. He was taken to Queens Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Investigators were combing the area the for clues Tuesday morning as they tried to identify a suspect.

Zona Tomlinson, Hamwi’s mother-in-law, said he worked at a high-tech job in the city and usually took the subway home, but because of track work he rode the Long Island Rail Road and decided to walk home rather than wait for a bus.

“He is not the type of person who is going to stand at the bus stop for an hour waiting on the bus, so he walked,” she said. “He was almost home.”

Tomlinson said Hamwi was a Syrian Muslim with Canadian citizenship who financially supported his mother living in the Middle East and was married to her son last year at Queens Borough Hall.

“For me who is a mother, it does not matter. It is who my son loves,” she said.

Tomlinson said she was told by police that Hamwi’s phone and wallet were found with him.

Several neighbors described Hamwi as a mild-mannered fellow who was usually seen coming and going in his Jeep or running errands.

“He was a quiet guy,’ said Leon Dover, who lives across the street. “He pretty much stayed to himself.”

Dover’s son Eric, who lives just a few doors down from his father, said the block’s worst days were behind it. The violence that had once plagued the area by Detective Keith L. Williams Park, named after the detective killed in the line of duty in 1989, had turned quiet, Dover added, and he was surprised to hear of Hamwi’s tragic end.

“Years ago it used to be tough around here,” he said.

Eric Arrington, who lives in the home his family has owned since before he was born, said it was frightening to think what could have motivated Hamwi’s killer.

“You could be walking in the village and someone could kill you because you’re gay,” the 49-year-old said. “Or they could kill you because you’re white and they don’t like you.”

“It’s disturbing,” he said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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