Former party guest accused of killing host’s brother
SCHENECTADY A man who used to be invited to barbecues and parties is now accused of killing his host’s brother.
Emmanuel F. Martinez, 28, of Schenectady, was arraigned Thursday on charges of killing Jose “Mikey” Torres and shooting Luis Gomez, who survived the attack.
After the court appearance, Gomez said he knew Martinez.
“He was our associate and neighbor,” Gomez said, explaining that they used to live across the street from each other on Van Vranken Avenue. “He was just an associate. He would come for the cookouts.”
He declined to explain why he invited Martinez over, or why Martinez stopped coming sometime earlier this year. But other family members said the invitations led to Torres’ death.
“I blame you for this,” his uncle Edwin Toro told him. “From the beginning I felt he should not have been in the circle. Anyone not family should have been kept far from the circle.”
A cousin, Mookie Gomez, said that he now agreed with his uncle.
“You got to be careful who you hang out with,” he said.
But none of them offered any reason why Martinez would shoot Gomez and Torres.
“It could have just been jealousy,” Mookie Gomez suggested. “Because we’re well-known out here.”
Police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said the Police Department would not discuss any possible motive in the case.
According to court paperwork, Martinez took a gun to Torres’ house on Becker Street around 9:40 p.m. Aug. 30.
Torres had been home from work for only half an hour. He and wife were hosting a Labor Day weekend party in his backyard. About 15 family members were there.
Martinez walked up the driveway, pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and fired twice, police said. One shot grazed Gomez’s neck. The other killed Torres.
Family members said it was a horrific scene. Torres’ four young children were present.
“He didn’t deserve to die like that,” Toro said. “Out of everybody I could throw under the bus, it wouldn’t be him. And not in that way, in front of his kids and his wife.”
Toro was proud of the young man.
“He was a great kid. A kid, that’s what we called him, because that’s how we saw him,” Toro said.
Torres was 24.
Martinez was also arraigned Thursday on charges stemming from an alleged domestic incident in July. Police said he punched his longtime girlfriend in the eye and forehead and then ran off with her cellphone when she tried to call 911.
When the U.S. Marshals Service found Martinez in Brooklyn this week, they took him in on those charges as well as the murder charges.
He was charged with robbery and grand larceny, felonies that accuse him of stealing the cellphone. He also faces charges of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief.
Bail was not set; he will return to City Court for another hearing Tuesday.
Until then, he was remanded to the county jail.