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Nov 15, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Two victims shot outside Bronx park: cops

Two people were shot in the Bronx on Friday afternoon, police said.

The victims, whose identities were not immediately released, were wounded around 4:10 p.m. on E. 147th St. and Trinity Ave., just outside St. Mary’s Park, officials said.

RELATED: WOMAN, 79, SHOT BY STRAY BULLET IN THE BRONX

They were rushed to Lincoln Hospital in serious condition.

bpaddock@nydailynews.com

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Nov 15, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Man killed crossing Cross Bronx Expressway

A 23-year-old man trying to cross the busy Cross Bronx Expressway was struck and killed by a driver who fled, cops said Friday.

The pedestrian was hit close to the median of the expressway’s eastbound side near Third Ave. just before 11:30 p.m. Thursday, police said. He was pronounced dead at Jocobi Medical Center. His name was not immediately released.

RELATED: FATAL ACCIDENT IN BRONX LEAVES MAN DEAD AND WOMAN INJURED

The driver took off before emergency responders arrived.

Police said it was not immediately clear why the victim was crossing the highway. They did not have a description of the fleeing driver’s vehicle early Friday.

JSTEPANSKY@nydailynews.com

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Nov 8, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Memorial service to honor Eugene Callender

A memorial service will be held Dec. 7 for the Rev. Dr. Eugene Callender, a Harlem civil rights advocate, who died last week.

Callender was a deputy administrator of the New York City Housing and Development Administration under Mayor John Lindsay. He also served as director of the state Office of the Aging under Gov. Mario Cuomo. He was a past executive director of the New York Urban League.

RELATED: NYC WOMAN RECALLS THREATS DURING MARTIN LUTHER KING’S ‘DREAM’ SPEECH

Callender died Nov. 2 at age 87, according to family friend Harriette Cole.

Callender lectured and preached throughout the country. He started a series of “street academies” for disadvantaged New York City youth and established a drug treatment program in Harlem.

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The memorial service will be held at the Church of the Master at 81 Morningside Ave., where he was pastor.

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Nov 7, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: North Central Bronx is back to birthin’ babies!


Oh, baby! Babies!


Following months of community outrage, North Central Bronx Hospital announced it will reopen its labor unit next summer.


The hospital’s maternity ward had closed in August due to a lack of senior physicians, but it will return after the standard nine-month gestation period.

RELATED: NURSES TO HHC: RE-OPEN N. CENTRAL BRONX MATERNITY WARD NOW


“We have recruited a first rate physician leader and we are beginning the process,” said hospital Vice President William Walsh, earning cheers from his staff.


About 10% of the borough’s births took place each year at the North Central Bronx unit prior to its closure.


Community groups rallied after the shutdown, which caused excessive wait times and overcrowded rooms at Jacobi Medical Center, despite more than 100 nurses brought in to handle the overflow.


“Having those experienced doctors in the practice, with patients, working with the nursing staff, that’s very important to us,” said Sheldon McLeod, the chief operating officer at North Central Bronx.

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Nov 7, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: No need to panic in the Bronx

There’s no need to panic.

North Central Bronx Hospital opened its new ultra modern psychiatric emergency room Thursday, replacing cramped quarters with a center nearly three times the size of the old space.

“It’s clean, but it’s minimalist in order to keep people safe who may be upset or disturbed or suicidal,” said Scott Rogge, the site director.

The facility — with a state-of-the-art examination room, a large common area, and an expanded nurses’ station — will be open 24 hours a day and serve all people suffering from mental health emergencies including children and geriatric patients.

The space will also be safer than its predecessor.

Staffers and nurses will be able to keep a better eye on the ward at all times with closed circuit security cameras and big windows that face the room’s main reception area.

RELATED: NORTH CENTRAL BRONX IS BACK TO BIRTHIN’ BABIES!

“The opening of this facility will allow us to meet the demands of the community,” said Chief Operating Officer Sheldon McLeod, noting the size of the new ward will help nurses and case workers work more efficiently. “We can take more patients and complete more evaluations, leading to better care for the patients.”

North Central Bronx evaluated nearly 3,400 patients in its psychiatric intake ward in 2012, according to a hospital spokesman.

The expanded site is expected to handle a 10% increase in patients, according to a spokesman.

After being assessed and stabilized in the emergency room, patients will either be admitted for treatment or released with outpatient services.

McLeod said there are five other psychiatric emergency rooms in the Bronx, but his revamped space will be a boon to mental health care in the borough.

“This is something that the area needed,” McLeod said. “This is a substantial commitment to the Bronx communities of Norwood and the rest of the borough.”

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Nov 7, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Bronx castle is up for sale

Fort Apache? Meet the Castle.

The Bronx’ own authentic European estate — a 1926 French provincial mansion — can be yours for just ,650,000.

That’s dollars, not francs.

The current listing is actually an increase from the May, 2012 asking price of million — penalizing would-be barons who didn’t jump at the earlier price.

The Grosvenor Ave. home is set on the second highest point in the city, the better to look down on the rest of the borough.

And if you’re going to be a king, you might as well live like one: this castle has terraced gardens on two sides and a massive flagstone patio with an embedded sound system.

Inside, the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home has been completely redesigned with a state-of-the-art kitchen, cathedral ceilings in some bedrooms, and an iPad-controlled internal intercom system.

There’s even a breakfast nook and a bedroom with their own turrets.

The house is in the uber-riche Fieldston section of already exclusive Riverdale, boasting 24-hour security beyond the normal NYPD protection.

It was built by shipping line owner Giuseppe Cosulich, whose family owns a similar castle in Croatia, albeit an actual 16th-century one.

It is currently owned by Alec Diacou and Suzi Arensberg. They bought it in 2004 for just .8 million, but sunk almost as much into the house, according to the Wall Street Journal, which wrote about the estate two years ago.

Diacou, a former banker, runs a nonprofit called Yes the Bronx. He and his wife have other houses and apparently used the castle as a summer home, the Journal reported.

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Nov 6, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: It’s a ‘Tale of Two Parks’ in the Bronx

If you’re planning to go to Ferry Point Park, better keep your legs crossed.

The same city that has spent nearly 0 million on a glitzy Trump golf course on the east side of the waterfront greenspace next to the Whitestone Bridge has again delayed the construction of long awaited – and already funded – bathrooms in the ne’er-do-well western portion of the park.

The Parks Department’s .5 million project to add public bathrooms will now not even begin until fall 2014 – at the earliest. The multi-year delay has park goers in the western portion of the 414-acre park in desperate need of relief.

“Men are peeing constantly in public, and women will squat and take a poop right in front of you,” said Dorothea Poggi, president of Friends of Ferry Point Park.

Community leaders can’t believe the delays for the most basic of modern conveniences to replace the park’s few portable toilets.

“Each of the four years since I’ve been here we have asked for the construction of a public restroom at Ferry Point Park,” said Kenneth Kearns, district manager of Community Board 10. “People cannot alleviate themselves.”

The lack of toilets is only the latest chapter in this “Tale of Two Parks.”

RELATED: DONALD TRUMP-RUN BRONX COURSE COMPLETE

Blue bloods from across the five boroughs will soon be flocking en masse to Ferry Point Park East’s new golf course, developed by none other than the Donald himself and designed by Jack Nicklaus, the sport’s most decorated player.

Trump’s course will occupy what used to be a garbage dump. The western portion of the park still is, locals say.

“We’ve had people having sex in public in the daytime. There has been prostitution taking place in the weeds.,” Poggi said. “There is illegal drinking from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are illegal liquor sales from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.”

The Dickensian split between the two sides of the park is particularly infuriating.

“It’s ridiculous,” Poggi added. “A park that has 5,000 to 8,000 people each weekend doesn’t even have a bathroom, but they can collect millions for a high end golf course in the same park.”

The simple project of building a permanent restroom has been delayed for over four years. Construction was set to begin summer 2009. In September 2011 the original contractor asked to be released from the contract, said a parks department spokesman, who did not give a reason.

As a result, the latest plan is not finalized, but the agency expects construction to finally begin next fall — though there’s no certainty of that.

“This community board has been fighting for a long time for Ferry Point Park west,” Kearns said. “We continue that fight. The Park doesn’t have the resources it needs.”

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Nov 6, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: De Blasio confident, Lhota hopes for upset

The yearlong race for City Hall ended Monday with Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota offering dueling visions for the future and a final volley of attacks as voters prepared to select the first new mayor in 12 years.

Unlike the breakneck final day of mayoral races past, de Blasio had just three campaign events Monday, the final at 3 p.m., reflecting confidence in polls that show him with an overwhelming lead.

The public advocate, a Democrat, renewed his call for a dramatic break with Mayor Bloomberg’s policies, sticking with the themes that catapulted him from fourth place in the Democratic primary in July to the brink of history Tuesday.

ELECTION DAY LIVE BLOG

“Together we will make this a city for everyone again,” he told a senior center in the Bronx. “The way that Mayor Bloomberg did things is not the only way to do things, I assure you.”

He added, “Joe Lhota has offered no vision of change, and that’s part of why I think the voters have been so cool to him.”

Lhota ended his campaign alongside his one-time boss, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, greeting evening commuters at two ferry terminals in lower Manhattan.

RELATED: BILL DE BLASIO IS LUCKY, BUT CAN HE RUN NYC?

“A lot of people come up to me and (say), ‘I’m a Democrat, but I’m voting for you Joe,’” Lhota said. “It’s generally because they think (de Blasio’s) too far left in most of his opinions. They don’t like it.”

Giuliani offered his own testimonial.

“There is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the garbage. There’s no Republican or Democratic way to reduce crime. There’s only the right way to do it or the wrong way to do it,” Giuliani said. “And from the time I came into office, with Joe’s help, we literally turned the city around.”

RELATED: DE BLASIO: BAD CITY POLICIES WOULD CONTINUE UNDER LHOTA

Later, he added, “A lot of people come up to me and say they’re very afraid of Mr. de Blasio. They’re very afraid of the way in which he’s going to handle or not handle crime. The way in which he’s going to drive businesses out…the way in which he’s going to sell out to the unions. … Tomorrow the people get to vote. And very often they surprise us.”

The race for mayor is the marquee matchup on a day that voters will also select a public advocate, a controller and new borough presidents in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island.

The City Council is poised for a dramatic makeover with the election of at least 21 new members. Statewide, voters will determine whether to legalize Las Vegas-style casinos.

RELATED: DE BLASIO, LHOTA BICKER OVER COLUMBUS DAY

De Blasio began the day at 8 a.m., greeting commuters in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

“Yes, I am a morning person. I just don’t like being one,” he joked, a reference to his hour-late arrival to a rally Saturday because a 5 a.m. phone call interrupted his sleep.

But de Blasio appeared annoyed when asked if he would hold morning meetings at City Hall.

RELATED: JOE JOLTED INTO TOUGHNESS AGAINST NYC MAYORAL RIVAL BILL

“We’re gonna do whatever it takes. Obviously, you have to start early in the morning,” he said, before challenging reporters to wait for him for his morning gym fix. “My earliest recorded time at the Park Slope Y is 5:21 a.m.,” he said.

Lhota had five public appearances, including in the Democratic bastion of Harlem.

“I wouldn’t vote for Lhota if my life depended on it,” said Hannah Goodman, 68, who said she was unemployed and receptive to de Blasio’s message of New York as a “tale of two cities.”

RELATED: OBAMA ENDORSES DE BLASIO FOR NYC MAYOR

The Republican got a warmer reception at a subway stop on the Upper East Side, where commuters clasped his hand and promised their votes.

During Lhota’s evening swing with Giuliani, the former mayor slammed de Blasio for not immediately speaking out at an event Sunday when singer Harry Belafonte compared the Koch brothers — billionaires who back Republican causes and Lhota’s candidacy — with the Ku Klux Klan.

“What you heard last night from Mr. de Blasio’s campaign was racism,” Giuliani said.

RELATED: BILL DE BLASIO’S OBAMA PROBLEM

De Blasio stood by his delayed response.

After the grind of a long campaign, both candidates said they were ready to accept the judgment of voters.

“If I don’t win on Tuesday, I have no idea what’s in my future,” Lhota said on Staten Island. “My future has been solely over the last six to nine months doing everything I can to become the mayor of New York. I think it’s gonna happen. I know it’s gonna happen.”

Said de Blasio, “It’s been a very long road, and I think a lot of people on this campaign would agree with me. We’re ready for the road to end right now and try something new.”

With Jennifer Fermino

FIND YOUR POLL SITE

New Yorkers head to the polls Tuesday to elect their first new mayor in 12 years. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m, and voters will use electronic ballot scanners instead of the traditional lever machines.

To find your poll site, check your registration status or report a problem, call the Board of Elections at 866-VOTE-NYC — that’s 866-868-3692 — or go to www.vote.nyc.ny.us.

The New York Public Interest Research Group will run a voter complaint hotline at 212-822-0282.

For more information about where or how to vote, go to nycvotes.org.

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Nov 5, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: SUV kills woman, 74, in South Bronx

An SUV struck and killed a 74-year-old woman crossing a South Bronx street, then jumped the curb and hit a building, police said.

The victim appeared to be in the crosswalk on E. 141st St. when she was hit by a 2013 Infiniti heading south on Beekman St. at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, cops said. The woman suffered severe head trauma and died at Lincoln Hospital, police said.

RELATED: GRIEVING PARK SLOPE MOM MOVES COUNCIL TO TEARS

Her name was not immediately released, but cops said she lived nearby in Mott Haven.

The driver, a 47-year-old woman, and her passenger, an 8-year-old girl, were in stable condition at Lincoln with minor injuries. Both their air bags deployed, police said.

RELATED: SPEED DEMONS RUNNING WILD IN BROOKLYN

It wasn’t clear if the driver would be charged.

rparascandola@nydailynews.com

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Nov 4, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: De Blasio dismisses Lhota’s attacks on sleeping late

As a new poll showed his mayoral dreams slipping away, Joe Lhota launched a novel attack, charging that Bill de Blasio’s inability to get up in the morning shows he’s unfit to lead the city that never sleeps.

Stumping across the city on the final Sunday of the race, Lhota seized on de Blasio’s admission that he was an hour late for an 11:30 a.m. rally Saturday because a 5 a.m. phone call interrupted his sleep.

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“I’ve been saying over and over again that Bill de Blasio’s not prepared to be mayor,” Lhota said. “You can’t get up in the morning? Mayors get phone calls at 5 o’clock in the morning, mayors get phone calls at 3 o’clock,” he said.

“God forbid a police officer was hurt or a firefighter was hurt. You’ve got to go out and you’ve got to deal with it. … Being mayor is a 24-hour-a-day job.”

RELATED: BILL DE BLASIO IS LUCKY, BUT CAN HE RUN NYC?

De Blasio, who on Saturday admitted, “I am not a morning person,” brushed aside Lhota’s attack.

“I think that’s laughable,” he said.

RELATED: DE BLASIO SHOWS UP LATE, SAYS HE’S NOT A MORNING PERSON

As Lhota launched his bedtime broadside, civil rights activist and singer Harry Belafonte compared the Lhota-backing, billionaire Koch brothers to the Ku Klux Klan as he introduced de Blasio at a Harlem church.

De Blasio then praised Belafonte without addressing the singer’s inflammatory remarks. He later said outside the church that it was the “wrong way” to talk about the billionaires.

RELATED: WHERE BILL DE BLASIO, JOE LHOTA STAND ON THE ISSUES

A Wall Street Journal/WNBC-TV/Marist poll released Sunday night showed deBlasio with the same commanding lead he has had since the Sept. 10 primary.

The poll found 65% of likely voters backing de Blasio, to 26% for Lhota. Only 6% were undecided, and 8% said they might change their minds by Election Day.

RELATED: LHOTA STAYS UPBEAT, HEARS VOTERS’ FEARS

The poll found an overwhelming desire for change after 12 years of Mayor Bloomberg; 64% of registered voters said the next mayor should move the city in a new direction while 31% said Bloomberg’s policies should continue.

Before the new poll came out, Lhota attributed de Blasio’s success to voter fatigue with Bloomberg.

RELATED: DE BLASIO: BAD CITY POLICIES WOULD CONTINUE UNDER LHOTA

“The Democratic primary was a campaign against Mike Bloomberg. And that continues to this day,” he said. “I’m not Mike Bloomberg. I’m a very different person.”

Lhota suggested any Democrat could have thrived with the same strategy.

RELATED: BILL DE BLASIO’S OBAMA PROBLEM

“So many people like what Mike Bloomberg’s done, so many people don’t like what he’s done,” he said. “There’s a level of fatigue for all elected officials after two terms. And third terms put people into a tailspin.”

After speaking at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, Lhota spent most of his day in Brooklyn, before an evening visit to Bayside, Queens.

Coasting on his wide lead, de Blasio kept a relatively low profile with just four events, including a breakfast for members of the United Federation of Teachers, which endorsed him after its initial choice, Bill Thompson, lost in the primary.

Belafonte’s attack on Charles and David Koch occurred during de Blasio’s visit to the First Corinthian Baptist Church. The Koch brothers have spent tens of millions of dollars on conservative political causes, and Charles Koch has donated money to two pro-Lhota political action committees.

“They make up the hearts and the thinking in the minds of those who would belong to the Ku Klux Klan. They are white supremacists. They are men of evil,” Belafonte said.

“They have names. They are flooding our country with money. They’ve come into to New York City — they are beginning to buy their way into city politics. … The Koch brothers, that’s their name.”

De Blasio took the stage after the caustic comments. He praised Belafonte’s “wisdom” but made no reference to his remarks on the brothers.

Questioned by reporters later, de Blasio said he disagreed with Belafonte on his characterization of the Koch brothers. “I thought that was the wrong way to talk about them,” he said.

Lhota was more blunt. “That kind of rhetoric is race-baiting and hateful,” he said.

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Nov 2, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: New mosque opens in Co-op City

Muslim residents of Co-op City can rejoice, they finally have a place of worship to call their own.

The aptly-named Co-op City Mosque opened on Friday in a community center at 127 Dreiser Loop on the north side of the sprawling complex.

“There is a significant Muslim population in this area and now they will have a place to pray,” said Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, a Muslim leader who helped celebrate the opening Friday.

“We want everyone to know we are here to be good neighbors, to be a part of this community, ” he said.

The mosque will join a religious cluster of 15 churches and synagogues that already serve the residential complex.

Drammeh, a Gambian immigrant who runs an Islamic school in Parkchester, said the new location was made possible with the help of local pastor Bishop Angelo Rosario of the Church of God’s Children.

Drammeh and Rosario met through their work with the Bronx Clergy Task Force, a coalition of leaders from various religious institutions and community based organizations run by the borough president’s office.

Rosario, who is the chairman of the task force, has been involved in interfaith groups across the borough since he was 18.

The energetic minister started his own church in the very same room where the mosque’s congregates will now meet.

“This is an incredible achievement for us as a community,” Rosario said on Friday. “To me, it’s about trying to bring unity and peace among all of the denominations, all of the religions.”

Muslims will be able to use the space for Friday prayers and Drammeh hopes to see services expand in the future.

“We will respond to the needs of the community,” the 50-year-old said. “We will be here to help people in any way that we can.”

The first prayer service, led by the new center’s imam Abdoulaye Balde, was attended by several children from Drammeh’s school.

Assemblyman Mike Benedetto (D-Throgs Neck) and City Councilman Andy King (D-Wakefield) attended the announcement ceremony and praised the interfaith connection that led to the mosque’s opening.

“If we all continue to just keep learning and embracing one another, I think we will see a more peaceful Bronx,” King said after welcoming the new worshipers.

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Nov 2, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Van drives wildly down Bronx sidewalk, kills father of three

A crazed driver speeding down a Bronx sidewalk hit and killed a father of three early Saturday — and police said he may have been aiming to hit another man, the owner of a liquor store who refused to sell him booze.

Cops said four to five men got into an argument with the owner of Got Liquor on E. 233rd St. in the Wakefield neighborhood when they failed to produce ID and he refused to sell them alcohol.

The men then jumped into a dark green 1988 Toyota Sienna minivan and circled the block at least once before jumping the curb at Carpenter Ave. and driving along the sidewalk down E. 233rd St. towards White Plains Rd. just after midnight, according to police.

The driver may have been trying to hit the owner of the liquor store as he closed the shop for the night, a source said.

RELATED: FATAL ACCIDENT IN BRONX LEAVES MAN DEAD AND WOMAN INJURED

Instead, the suspect hit a man identified by relatives as Derek Callender, 32, a construction worker who was standing with his 2-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son in front of the family’s E. 233rd St. apartment building.

Callender was rushed to Montefiore North Hospital, where he died, authorities and family said.

The reckless driver then slammed into a salon near the corner of White Plains Rd. and all the occupants of the van tried to dash away, police said.

“He drove the whole block on the sidewalk. It was like a hurricane,” said a 36-year-old witness, who declined to give his name. “I’m surprised no one else got hit.”

RELATED: JILTED CABBIE STABS EX-GIRLFRIEND TO DEATH: COPS

Callender’s mother, Laverne Jacobs, 51, wiped tears from her eyes at the scene as she recounted her son’s final moments.

“He was just standing with his kids,” she said.

“I can’t believe my baby’s gone,” Jacobs said. “I just want them to catch whoever did this … They were cowards, they got up and ran away.”

Callender’s grieving family stood vigil as police investigated the scene Saturday.

RELATED: MAN LOSES CONTROL OF CAR, DIES AFTER CRASHING INTO BRONX UTILITY POLE

“I was standing right by him when he got hit, his daughter was right there, they could have killed her too,” said a relative of the victim, who did not give her name. “The car hit him and kept going.”

Relatives said Callender was married with three young children and that he was killed just two days before his 33rd birthday.

“He was a good kid. He worked hard for his family,” said Larry Brown, 53, Callender’s step-father. “He was always with his family.”

Police were questioning suspects at the 47th precinct house, but had not made any arrest early Saturday.

JSTEPANSKY@nydailynews.com

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