2008-07-11 / Front Page

FRHS Gridiron Star Reportedly Killed

By Elio Velez

Although official police sources refuse to confirm the identity of a victim until the family is notified, local sources say that a star Far Rockaway High School football player was shot and killed on Thursday morning on a Wavecrest street.

The body of Patrick Hernandez lies on Beach 15 Street on Thursday afternoon, after he was shot and killed. The body of Patrick Hernandez lies on Beach 15 Street on Thursday afternoon, after he was shot and killed. Police say that a patrol car responded to 249 Beach 15 Street on July 10 at about 10:40 a.m. and found the victim shot once in the chest in front of that location.

The teen, who sources have identified to The Wave as Patrick Hernandez, 18, was declared dead.

Police quickly set up a crime scene and called for specialized units at the scene.

A Level I Mobilization was called, bringing more than a dozen police officers from the Patrol Borough South Queens Task Force, as well as officers from other Queens precincts.

While details were still sketchy on Thursday afternoon, as The Wave was going to press, law enforcement sources put out a bulletin over the radio that they were looking for a blue Honda carrying four males. They added that one of them may be carrying the shotgun that reportedly was used in the homicide.

Detectives comb the Beach 15 Street crime scene for clues to the person who shot and killed Hernandez on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg. Detectives comb the Beach 15 Street crime scene for clues to the person who shot and killed Hernandez on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg. Sources at his school said that Hernandez was a good athlete, who played quarterback and strong safety for three years. They added that they did not believe that he was involved with the street problems that plague Far Rockaway, drugs, guns and gangs.

"He was a bright kid with good potential," his varsity coach, Walt Wilkerson, said. "The other players on the team are devastated."

Wilkerson, who is also a math teacher and dean at the school, said that Hernandez graduated in January, six months before the rest of his class, and had plans for college.

"It's a shame that he didn't live long enough to bring his plans to fruition," the coach said. "He was a real role model in the school. He would have risen above the community."

The office of the Chief Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy in the next few days to determine the cause of death, one police official said.

Patrick Hernandez runs with the ball for Far Rockaway High School. He was reportedly shot and killed on Thursday afternoon on Beach 15 Street in Wavecrest. Wave file photo by Peter Borriello Patrick Hernandez runs with the ball for Far Rockaway High School. He was reportedly shot and killed on Thursday afternoon on Beach 15 Street in Wavecrest. Wave file photo by Peter Borriello Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was in Far Rockaway on Monday for the reopening of the Redfern Community Center, which had been closed by the city.

Kelly announced a new program to fight gun violence and announced that a group of rookie cops had been assigned to the 101 Precinct in the wake of several homicides and shootings in the area in May and June.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad and the city's Major Crimes Squad are working on the case, but sources say that the perpetrator fled the scene and so far, no witnesses have come forward with information.

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