SCHENECTADY Four hours after Jose “Mickey” Torres was laid to rest Wednesday, police throughout Schenectady County had to be called to his curbside memorial to disperse a potentially violent crowd.
Police said they responded to a report of shots fired after 8 p.m. and found more than 200 people around the memorial on Becker Street in the city’s Central State Street neighborhood. The crowd was so large it blocked the street, they said.
Mourners gathered at the memorial after Torres’ funeral at the Daly Funeral Home.
Torres’ brother, Luis Gomez, said the family needed police to control the crowd.
“It was a lot of people. I didn’t even know all of them,” he said. “It was so much people we couldn’t keep them on the porch. We needed the block closed off.”
He said police were respectful and directed traffic while the mourners were there.
“They let us do what we have to do. They respected us,” he said. “The problem was we had to stay on the sidewalk. There was just so many people we couldn’t do that.”
One man ran in front a moving vehicle to stop it from driving down the road, according to police. Others also blocked the road.
Police said the mood of the crowd turned ugly when they told mourners to disperse.
“Lots of shouts of ‘F--- the police’ and a lot of shouts of ‘War! War! War!’ over and over again,” said police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken. “It certainly wasn’t a time of silent contemplation.”
Torres was slain while he relaxed in his backyard with his family on Friday. Tensions have been high ever since, and police are trying to solve the case quickly, before any of Torres’ friends decide to take matters into their own hands, police said. No arrests have been made yet.
As the crowd turned on the police, officers called for mutual aid. It took officers from Rotterdam, Glenville, Niskayuna, the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Police to control the crowd, according to Schenectady city police.
Schenectady police stayed by the memorial until 6 a.m. to keep the peace.
“They were there for quite awhile, just to keep a proactive stance,” McCracken said.
Police weren’t able to determine whether shots were actually fired and McCracken said a neighbor might have called with that report just to get police to disperse the crowd.
“They didn’t appear to be violent with each other,” he said, adding that he doubted anyone suspected of killing Torres would have risked showing up.
Police told the mourners to disperse and most eventually left. But two men refused to leave, McCracken said.
He said Christopher N. Perez, 17, of Schenectady, refused to leave. Officers also said Perez was the man they saw run in front of a moving vehicle to block the street.
They arrested Perez on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and unlawful possession of marijuana.
McCracken said police also had to arrest David L. Ramos, 20, of Schenectady.
“He refused to move on,” McCracken said.
Ramos was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
McCracken added that most of the mourners were willing to leave.
“These two, for whatever reason, decided to be arrested,” he said.