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January 24, 2004

Deaf man shot dead waiting for B'klyn bus

From: New York Daily News, NY - Jan 24, 2004

3 bullets hit man, 24, suspected robbery


A Brooklyn man unable to hear or speak since birth was gunned down yesterday as he waited for a bus, his killers leaving behind $10 in the man's pocket and three bullets in his torso.

Police and family of the victim, Kevin Lazare, say he may have been killed by robbers who didn't realize he couldn't hear their demands.

"He couldn't hear them," cried his heartbroken mother, Kathleen Lazare, who brought two bouquets of flowers to the spot where her oldest child was killed.

Lazare, 24, was found bleeding and sprawled out on the icy sidewalk of Hegeman Ave., near Rockaway Ave. in Brownsville, just after 1:30 a.m. He had been shot three times - twice in the back and once in the side.

As his family painstakingly scraped frozen blood from the sidewalk, Lazare's mother struggled to keep the icy wind from toppling the flowers and cardboard shrine, or extinguish the votive candles left.

At the family's home in East New York, Lazare's grief-stricken stepfather, Kenneth Mano, held the victim's bloodstained North Face bubble coat in his hands, fingering the bullet holes.

"They shot him in the back," Mano said.

Police had no leads yesterday but told the family that Lazare might have been the victim of a random robbery. Cops said they found "about $10" on Lazare and his backpack next to his body.

Mano recalled seeing Lazare walking on the street near the bus stop. "He asked me for $2 and I gave him $10," Mano said.

Lazare was born deaf in Trinidad and Tobago, his mother said. But his disability "didn't keep him back," she said.

"Kevin was a good kid," she stressed. "He was not in any gangs. He just loved basketball." Police confirmed Lazare had a clean record.

"They'd better catch the guy who did it," warned Lazare's grandmother, Elfrida Learmont. "He was my favorite."

Lazare worked part time in construction and was also in a state vocational program for the deaf, studying to be a day care aide, his family said. He was devoted to his family, paying visits to his aunt and grandmother nearly every day and doting on his siblings.

"He took me anywhere I wanted to go," said his half-sister Kenya Mano, 9, who peppered a framed photo of Lazare with kisses.

Lazare's slaying is the second tragedy this month for the family. His father, Samuel King, was murdered in an apparent robbery two weeks ago in Trinidad and Tobago.

Police are asking anyone with information about Lazare's death to call the confidential Crime Stoppers line at (800) 577-TIPS.

© 2004 Daily News, L.P.