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Queens Chronicle

Attempted murder caps off crime surge

Central Queens neighborhoods suffer from a series of break-ins

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 2:00 am | Updated: 11:22 am, Thu Feb 20, 2014.

There certainly have been safer times to be a resident of Central Queens.

The most violent crime of the last several weeks involved a Kew Gardens man who was charged with the attempted murder of his girlfriend on Sunday morning.

Steven Diaz, 30, was booked on Monday for second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, tampering with physical evidence and possession of marijuana after he allegedly shot his 22-year-old girlfriend in the head at their apartment at 84-15 127 St. in Kew Gardens around 9 a.m. on Sunday, according to police.

The woman is in critical condition at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, police said.

According to a statement issued by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Tuesday, her condition is grave and if she succumbs to her wounds, Diaz will be charged with murder.

“The defendant is accused of shooting his girlfriend in the head and causing severe damage to her brain,” Brown said. “If her condition changes and she does not survive, the charges will be upgraded.”

Brown added that more than 10 pounds of marijuana was found in the home, which equates to a street value of at least $64,000.

According to published reports, Diaz told police that three armed men had entered the apartment and, during a struggle, his girlfriend was shot when a gun discharged.

Police responded to a 911 call at the residence but Diaz had already driven the woman to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, authorities said.

The woman’s name has not been released by police.

In addition to the alleged attempted murder, a string of burglaries has plagued both Forest Hills and Kew Gardens throughout the new year. Notably, the perpetrators scale fire escapes to enter apartments with unlocked or open windows.

The 112th Precinct did not respond to inquiries by the Chronicle, but according to the NYPD’s crime statistics for the precinct, there have been 28 burglaries so far in 2014, a stunning increase of 366 percent when compared to 2013’s total of six by Feb. 2.

During the week of Jan. 27th, there were 10 reported burglaries compared to just one the year before.

Community Affairs Officer Brendan Noonan of the 102nd Precinct reported at Tuesday’s Community Board 9 meeting that three such burglaries involving fire escapes happened on Grenfell Street in Kew Gardens, with the spree shifting to Forest Hills.

Forest Hills resident Mary Brown, whose home is located in the Arbor Close enclave of the neighborhood, has noticed an increased police presence in the area over the last few weeks.

“When I saw a police officer on foot, I asked him what he was doing. He said the police were monitoring fire escapes because there have been some break-ins,” Brown said. “They want more of a police presence.”

According to Noonan, the pattern has quieted down in recent days, but Brown says police are still actively patrolling the area.

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