Murder Victim’s Mom Files Lawsuit, Charging Lax Security at Smith Houses

File photo.

File photo.

The New York Post reported over the weekend that the mother of a teen killed at the Alfred E. Smith Houses last year has filed a lawsuit against the city.

On Sept. 26, 2015, 19-year-old Nathaniel Szeto was fatally shot in the lobby of a building at the Smith Houses, near Catherine Street and South Street. A couple of months later, cops arrested 15-year-old Johnny Molina of Sparrowbush, New York. He was charged as a juvenile with murder. Another suspect, 19-year-old Alexandros Lorentzos, was arrested just last month and charged with murder and robbery.

A lawsuit filed in state supreme court by Phanessia Liao, Szeto’s mother, argues that shoddy security at the public housing complex was partially to blame for her son’s murder. The suit cites pre-existing “broken, dangerous, hazardous and defective” conditions in the building, including faulty locks. The inadequate security, “allowed trespassers, other unlawful persons, and/or persons intent on committing crimes and/or violence” access to Szeto’s home, the lawsuit alleges. Liao is seeking unspecified damages. City officials declined to comment.

Szeto worked as an assistant in a Lower Manhattan legal office.


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Followup: Fatal Shooting at Alfred E. Smith Houses

We have a few more details concerning the overnight shooting at the Smith Houses that left a 30-year-old man dead.

30-Year Old Man Shot and Killed at Smith Houses Overnight

A man was fatally wounded while walking through a courtyard at the Alfred E. Smith Houses early this morning.

Teen Arrested in Raphael Ward Murder; Fight Breaks Out at Funeral Home

Raphael Ward; photo via Facebook.

There was some news last night from the 7th Precinct’s Community Council meeting.  Captain Peter Venice announced one arrest had been made in connection with the murder of 16-year old Raphael Ward on Columbia Street six days ago.  This morning the Post is reporting the name of the suspect in custody. He is Timothy Montalvo, also 16-years old.

According to the Post, Montalvo is one of four teens seen on surveillance video shortly before the fatal shooting happened Friday night.  He has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and murder.  At last night’s meeting, a detective working on the case talked briefly about the arrest, explained that investigators are following up on a lot of leads and  said they’re confident more arrests will be happening soon.  The tragedy, he added, “confirms that there are too many guns on the street.”

Followup: Raphael Ward Murder Investigation; Tributes to LES Teen

Still image from security camera video; persons wanted for questioning in Friday night’s murder.

The NYPD yesterday circulated security camera video showing four “persons of interest” wanted for questioning in the murder of Raphael Ward.

As the Times reported, cops declined to characterize what role the young men might have played in the fatal Friday night shooting on Columbia Street. The Daily News, however, went a few steps further.  Its provocative headline read, “Cops: Here are the four guys who killed Raphael Ward for his Marmot jacket.”

Later in the afternoon, the Post reported that police were already interviewing three other people.  “The threesome were not believed to have participated in the cold-blooded murder, but may have information that could help investigators solve the case,” sources told the tabloid.  Also yesterday, at least some police sources were waving reporters off the (widely reported) theory that Ward was killed for his jacket.

Police Continue Search for Raphael Ward’s Killer; Funeral on Wednesday

Raphael Ward; photo via Facebook.

This morning police are still looking for the gunman who took 16-year old Raphael Ward’s life Friday night during a confrontation on Columbia Street.  Police believe the suspect is also a teenager, perhaps a boy even younger than Ward.

Police released a description of the gunman: 5-feet-6-inches tall, 120-140 pounds; at the time of the shooting (around 9 p.m.) he was wearing a black wool hat and a ski mask, a black hoodie, a green jacket and blue jeans.

Over the weekend, Ward’s mom, Ali Delgado, stayed in seclusion in the family’s apartment inside the Baruch public housing development. On Wednesday, friends and loved ones will be able to pay their respects at the Provenzano Lanza Funeral Home, 43 2nd Avenue.  Viewing hours are 2-5 and 7-9 p.m.

In a story published yesterday, Ward’s cousin, Nae Delgado,told the Wall Street Journal he tried to steer clear of bad influences, and wasn’t interested in the local gangs that are strong influences in all of the neighborhood’s public housing projects:

“He was a good kid… He didn’t cause trouble. I grew up here, this is the first place I ever lived, and we never got into trouble, nothing… He thought that if you couldn’t run by yourself then you weren’t brave.”

Followup: 16-Year Old Raphael Ward Murdered on Columbia Street

A makeshift memorial, including photos, candles and flowers, has gone up on Columbia Street.

Here’s more on last night’s murder of 16-year old Raphael Ward, a resident of the Baruch Houses.  A memorial has appeared outside a convenience store on Columbia Street where the teen was shot and killed shortly after 9 p.m.  Police are still searching for the gunman.

The New York Times paints a portrait of an athletic, personable kid who may very well have had a bright future even though he was growing up in a pretty rough part of the neighborhood:

Raphael Ward was known in the projects of the Lower East Side for his tall lanky frame, his easy laugh and his devotion to nearly every form of sports, especially baseball.

16-Year Old Boy Shot and Killed on Columbia Street (Updated 12:29 p.m.)

A fight last night on Columbia Street led to the murder of a 16-year old boy.  WCBS reports police were called to Columbia and Rivington streets, near the Baruch Houses, at around 9 p.m.  They found the victim, Raphael Sadonte Ward, with a gunshot to the chest.

Ward was rushed to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was declared dead. This morning police are searching for a suspect or suspects.

Neighborhood sources tell us Ward was involved in a long-running dispute with other groups from the Lower East Side.  Earlier in the evening, there was apparently a fist fight that later escalated when at least one of those involved returned to the scene with a gun.

More to come…

UPDATE 12:06 p.m. The Post reports that Ward ran into a deli after being shot.  Before collapsing, he said a group had approached him earlier, saying they wanted his jacket.  Ward lived in the Baruch Houses.