Arrest made in Far Rockaway murder

July 11, 2008 8:31:59 AM PDT
A 17- year- old has been arrested for the murder of an honor student in Far Rockaway. The suspect has been identified as Karon Lenihan.

Police say Lenihan reportedly had a grudge against 18-year-old Patrick Hernandez since grade-school.

Police are also looking for two additional suspects.

Family members say Hernandez was an honor student working two jobs as he prepared to go to college.

The victim's family members spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues.

"I miss him, I love him," grandmother Flora Vasquez said. "He'll always be in my life."

Hernandez was a good student, an athlete and now, a victim of murder.

"He was our hero," grandmother Shirley Hayes said. "This man did everything in his power to make his parents happy."

His parents are devastated, and they are still trying to figure out how to tell Patrick's 6-year-old sister that her brother won't be coming home.

"She thinks that he's in the hospital, and the doctors are taking the bullet out and making her big brother well so that he can come home," mother Elizabeth Hayes-Hernandez said. "But my baby don't know that her brother is gone. He's not coming back.''

Hernandez' brother witnessed the murder, as a man armed with a shotgun took aim and fired. The college-bound teen was left in the street to die.

"It's hard," Vasquez said. "I'm hurting.''

Family members and friends gathered outside the apartment building where Patrick lived, leaving candles and messages. Then, they walked to the precinct, where investigators questioned potential suspects.

They still don't know why it happened, and even if they did, they say it still doesn't make sense.

"Stop hurting each other," Hayes-Hernandez pleaded. "This is our community, these are our children. Nobody else gonna care about us. We gotta care about about ourselves.''

Family members say Hernandez was focused on the future. One is his jobs was with the Summer Youth Employment Program, cleaning up local beaches.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King & Scott Curkin