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Jealousy sparks fatal shooting

February 28, 2011 - Lee Smith
NEW YORK — Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred in the early morning hours Saturday at a popular discotheque.

Jealousy apparently sparked an altercation that involved thrown punches and chairs used as weapons. Police say a single gun shot was fired, but do not know who fired it.

What is known is that one man is dead. Police say Tony Castro, a bartender at the Copacabana, died at the scene. There are several suspects in the case, all associates of reputed mob boss Rico Alvarez.

Alvarez, an ostentatious dresser and man about town, was at the club Saturday evening. It was his first visit, and he had come to watch a showgirl who has created something of a buzz.

The dancer, known only as “Lola,” has earned good reviews for an act that includes the merengue and cha-cha. Apparently, her low-cut dress and yellow feathers made quite an impression on Alvarez, who called the young performer to his table during one of her breaks.

While speaking with the dancer, Alvarez may have crossed a line, police say. At least Castro — whom Lola called her boyfriend — thought so. He intervened on her behalf, setting off the altercation with Alvarez’s entourage. Police described the men with Alvarez as his friends and bodyguards.

“While (Lola) tried to be star, Tony always tended bar,” said a co-worker who wished to remain anonymous. “Across a crowded floor, they worked from 8 til 4. ... They were young and they had each other.”

Police say their investigation is ongoing. The lead detective, Cal O’Reilly, couldn’t help but be moved by the case.

“This is a real tragedy,” he said. “I worry it could really impact this young woman’s life. It would be sad if she couldn’t move on from this. I don’t want to come back here in 20, 30 years and see her sitting over there in the corner in the same dress, same yellow feathers and drinking herself half blind. She’s still got her youth.”


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