Dromm: Teacher's Death Could Be A Hate Crime
The murder of a Flushing middle school teacher who was found last week in a pool of blood in his Jackson Heights apartment could be a hate crime, City Councilmember Daniel Dromm said.
Police said the body of David Rangel, 53, was found stuffed underneath a sofa inside his apartment on 91st Street by cops who were responding to a 911 call just before 7 p.m. on January 27.
Cops said Rangel’s front door was open when the first officers arrived at the scene.
Rangel, who taught seventh-and-eighth grade Spanish to students at PS/MS 219 in Flushing, was choked to death by his attacker, a spokesperson for the city medical examiner’s office said.
Investigators removed a computer and other items from the apartment to determine if they hold any clues to the murder, law enforcement sources said.
“The horrific crime committed against David Rangel an openly gay public school teacher who lived in one of the city’s most tolerant communities, is deeply distressing,” Dromm said.
“Crimes like these nderscore the importance of having hate crime laws in place that protect New Yorkers from any kind of prejudice ad discrimination,” Dromm said.
Sources said Rangel often pursued romantic hook-ups on the Internet and would sometimes store photos and information about possible romantic partners on his computer.
Administrators at PS/MS 219 have implemented a crisis team to help students cope with the death, a spokesperson for the school said.
Police are urging anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers HOTLINE at 1-800-577-TIPS or click on www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.
The HOTLINE is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.