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Crime & Courts

NYC lawmaker warns that killer may be targeting gay men in Queens

A New York City lawmaker is warning gay men that a killer may be targeting them in Queens. reports that Councilman Daniel Dromm says that two homosexual men have been murdered within a week of each other in his district, which encompasses the Jackson Heights and Elmhurst sections.

The first murder occurred at 32-23 91st St. on Feb. 3, and the second occurred one week later on Saturday at the Crown Motor Inn at 74-01 Queens Blvd.

In both cases, the middle-aged victims were strangled and no signs of forced entry were found, Dromm said.

The latest victim was reportedly identified as Joseph Benzinger, a 54-year-old man who recently retired from the Department of Sanitation.

Neighbors told that Benzinger was a friendly man who enjoyed going fishing with his father, who lived with him in the borough’s Middle Village section.

"He just helped my wife shovel the snow yesterday," neighbor Rudy Borbor told the website.  "When I first moved in ... he came over and he said, 'Rudy, if there's anything I can do, let me know.'"

Borbor continued: "It breaks my heart. It really does. I feel for his father."

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told that investigations into the homicides were ongoing, but said the murders do not appear to be related.

Click for more from's Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this report.

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