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Teen gunned down behind carwash

Buffalo police believe the daylight killing of a 19-year-old man at a carwash Sunday afternoon was fueled by his criminal lifestyle.

Abraham Carrasquillo of Potomac Avenue was shot to death as he was apparently washing his car at Massachusetts and Shields avenues on the city's West Side, police said.

Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said Carrasquillo was known to police and had a criminal record.

"It was probably a planned attack, and we believe he probably was targeted," said DeGeorge.

Homicide detectives also are trying to determine if Carrasquillo's killing was a retaliation for a Friday afternoon slaying five blocks away.

Julio Penaloza, 30, of Carolina Street, was gunned down while riding his bicycle on Massachusetts Avenue near Fargo Avenue. A vehicle drove up to him and a gunman inside opened fire, police said.

"Obviously, it leads to speculation that it could be related, but it's too early to definitively say that these homicides are related," DeGeorge said.

Sunday afternoon, Edwin Carrasquillo, father of the victim, stood in disbelief at the crime scene, pacing back and forth as family members tried to comfort him. The grieving father said he prayed for his son to turn his life around.

"We loved him very much, but he was not on the right track," said his father. "Everybody liked him, but there was some people who didn't like him. . . . Maybe they were jealous of him."

His wife was nearby, crying hysterically after she had collapsed onto the street with grief.

Abraham Carrasquillo was one of the couple's seven children. His youngest sibling is a 3-year-old girl.

"Now I have six kids," said his father, his voice cracking with pain. "He dropped out of school, and he wasn't on the right track. . . . He was not a Christian. I wanted him to turn his life to the Lord. God is with him now. He's with the Lord now."

The couple was among a crowd of more than 300 who flocked around Bubble Brush Car Wash at 363 Massachusetts Ave.

It was an emotional scene, where more than a dozen of Carrasquillo's family members, friends and neighbors learned about his death for the first time. The constant sound of their tearful outbursts -- screaming, wailing and loud sobbing -- pierced the air.

Family members said Carrasquillo was better known by his nickname, Cecil, and well known in the neighborhood.

"He was known everywhere," said his cousin, who wiped tears from her face as she spoke. "He was a good guy. He was friendly. They were jealous because he had everything he wanted."

At about 1:20 p.m. Sunday, someone fired more than five shots at Carrasquillo as he stood beside his dark green Honda, which was parked in the rear of the self-serve, coin-operated carwash, police said.

Police said a white car was spotted speeding away, driving west toward Niagara Street.

He lay face-up beside his car, where he was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Homicide detectives remained at the scene throughout the afternoon.

DeGeorge said there are no suspects at this point and no arrests have been made.

Two hours after the shooting, the large crowd remained at the scene, watching the detectives at work and glaring at Carrasquillo's car, a vehicle with shiny rims and doors modified to open upward.

"It's getting bad around here," said neighborhood resident Anthony Thompson, a school bus driver who has lived on Niagara Street for the past 10 years. "Every time you watch the news, there's somebody dead and people are crying. You can't even wash your car in broad daylight. It's time to move."

Carrasquillo is the city's 26th homicide this year and fifth this month. A year ago, the city had recorded 38 murders.

The Rev. Angel L. Gauthier, a Buffalo police chaplain, tried to comfort the crowd with prayer.

"Family, family, let's get together and pray," Gauthier told the mourners. "I ask you to bring peace. Pray for his mom. Pray for his family members and give us that comfort. I ask you that, in the name of the Lord."


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