Fresh plea for info on murder of Bay Ridge merchant

August 1, 2012 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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“We know somebody saw something,” state Sen. Marty Golden said outside Valentino Fashion at 7718 5th Ave. in Bay Ridge, site of the murder of owner Mohamed Gebeli on July 6.

Golden and Pharmacy on Fifth owner Habib Joudeh this week renewed their call for anyone with information on the crime to call police, and reiterated the fact that they have teamed up to offer a $10,000 reward.

“We’re looking to resolve a terrible crime. We need to get this killer off the street,” Golden said. “Mr. Gebeli was a husband, a father, a neighbor. His family continues to mourn.”

Gebeli’s family attended Golden’s press conference in their emotional first visit to the scene since the slaying.

The victim’s widow, Hanza Mohamed, joined her daughters Mayar Elbarawi and Roushan Gebeli and her mother, Gahghan Youssef, in standing next to Golden and Joudeh at the press conference.

Upon her arrival at the scene of her husband’s murder, Hanza Mohamed pressed her face against the store’s metal gate and looked inside the shop.

During the press conference, she looked down and repeatedly wiped tears from her eyes. Neither she nor any of her family members spoke at the press conference.

Gebeli, 65, was found shot inside the store sometime before 11 p.m. on July 6. Shot once in the neck, he was rushed to Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park, where he was pronounced dead.

Golden and Joudeh each put up $5,000 for a reward to catch the killer. Golden said he hopes the $10,000 will spur someone to provide police with information.

Golden, a retired cop, said he believes the murderer is from Bay Ridge.

“We believe the person is here in our community. Crimes are usually committed by a person from within the community,” he said.

Police at the 68th Precinct, who are leading the investigation, have no suspects and no motive in the case, Golden said.

“I hope we are able to get the guy off the streets,” said Joudeh, the owner of Pharmacy on Fifth, a drugstore located eight blocks away from Valentino Fashion.

Joudeh knew Gebeli.

“He was my friend,” Joudeh said.

The murder of Gebeli, who was Egyptian, has shaken Bay Ridge’s Arab-American community, Joudeh said.

Fifth Avenue storeowners are also on edge. One merchant approached a reporter in the Royal Restaurant at 7609 Fifth Ave. shortly after the press conference to express his fears.

“I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a robbery gone bad. Then, we all have to worry,” he said.

Golden and Joudeh issued their joint reward offer a few days after the murder. So far, there has been no response, Golden admitted. He urged anyone with information to call the 68th Precinct at (718) 439-4211, or his office at (718) 238-6044.

“Even if it’s something that you don’t think is important, call. You could be giving police a piece of the puzzle that could help the investigation,” Golden said.

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