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January 23, 2004

Police: Deaf Brooklyn Man Shot to Death

From: 1010 Wins - Jan 23, 2004

(1010 WINS) (NEW YORK) Kevin Lazare loved to play basketball, although he couldn't hear anyone shouting for him to pass the ball or cheering for him. The 25-year-old was deaf and mute, and his family doesn't understand why anyone would want to kill him.

Early Friday morning, as Lazare waited for a bus to take him to his Brooklyn home, he was shot several times in the torso. A police officer on patrol heard the gunfire just after 1:30 a.m. and rushed to Lazare's side, but he was barely alive. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Brookdale Hospital.

Two weeks ago, Lazare's biological father also was slain in Trinidad, said family friend Steve Gomez.

"Who would want to hurt Kevin?" Gomez said. "Everyone who met him fell in love with him."

Police continued their search Friday for Lazare's killer, and for a motive. Police weren't certain if Lazare was robbed, since less than $10 was found in his pockets.

Lazare's passion was basketball, said Gomez, who answered the telephone at Lazare's home.

"His favorite team was the Knicks, and he played basketball every day," Gomez said. "That's what he loved to do."

Lazare was born deaf and could not speak, Gomez added, but that didn't stop him from traveling the neighborhood alone. Lazare had a varying group of friends with whom he played basketball, either at the gym at Intermediate School 275 in Brooklyn, or at the Brooklyn Recreation Center, Gomez said.

Lazare had just finished playing basketball at the school when he went to the corner of Rockaway and Hegeman avenues to wait for a bus home. Police say that's when he was approached and shot several times. An autopsy showed that Lazare was shot several times in the torso -- the bullets tore through his right lung, aorta and right kidney.

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