Last Thursday morning, while standing in front of LeFrak City where 21 shots were fired at Theo Greene about a year ago, Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) announced an increased reward for information about his murder.
The total was upped $2,000 to $24,000.
The Mayor’s Office and NYPD had already pledged $10,000 each and Crimestoppers, a nonprofit arm of the Police Department funded by donations, where individuals can anonymously report tips, had contributed $2,000.
The additional funds announced this week are $1,000 from Dromm’s personal bank account and $500 from Bogopa Service Corporation and $500 from another private donor, both secured by Peralta.
Dromm said witnesses began “snitching” when the reward for information about the murderers of David Rangel, a middle-school teacher from Jackson Heights strangled to death on Feb. 3, was beefed up. The tips led to the arrest of two Bronx men.
“If you know anything about this crime let us know,” Greene’s mother, Debra Greene, said last Thursday. “It’s unsettling to not know what happened to my son.”
“Look at these buildings,” longtime family friend and victims’ advocate Shawn Williams said, pointing to the multistory complex of LeFrak City. “Someone was getting ready for work and saw something.”
On April 20, 2012 Greene, 27 at the time, and his friends were driving back from a club in Manhattan, where they had been celebrating a birthday. Video surveillance tape from the club shows that the men had gotten in a fight with some other revelers, but that Greene had not participated, his mother said.
At 5 a.m. his friends dropped him off on 99th Street and the Horace Harding Expressway underneath the pedestrian bridge and then drove to their end of the complex. As he was walking to his apartment an individual or a group gunned Greene down. The bullets hit him several times — in the back, arm and abdomen — and his ring and keys were dented by the shots.
He was not found for another 45 minutes, Debra said. When a person from the Greenes’ building saw him, he or she called 911 and Greene was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital.
“I was called on my way to work,” said Debra, who works as a nurse in Manhattan. “I was told he was OK.”
Greene died at the hospital once Debra and his younger brother got there.
Theo Greene played basketball and loved to dance and play chess, his mother said. He had returned to Le Frak City a year and a half ago after attending Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.
Greene, who at the time of his death was working two jobs, planned on opening a recreation center with the help of his friends.
“He was a good dude,” Greene’s friend Russell Smith of Jamaica said.
“He was peaceful. He wasn’t on the street like some other people. Not to do my friend wrong, but he was a square. Never did me or anyone wrong.”
Dromm and Peralta scolded Congress for not passing federal gun control reform bills last Wednesday.
Peralta also touted his microstamping bill, a proposed law requiring identifying coding be put on bullet shells. It was left out of the group of gun control bills passed on the state level shortly after the Newtown, Conn., shooting.
“This crime could have been solved already if there was this etching,” Peralta said.