TWO DEAD AT ST. LOUIS HALL IN POSSIBLE MURDER-SUICIDE

A man and a woman were found dead in a room at the St. Louis Hall SRO and supportive housing development on West 94th street this morning, in what police believe was a murder-suicide.

A 44-year-old woman was found dead with bruises to her head and a 58-year-old man hung himself in room B404 at St. Louis Hall, the SRO building at 319 West 94th street, an NYPD spokesman told us. A medical examiner will determine the cause of the woman’s death. The two were not married — a tipster tells us they may have been boyfriend and girlfriend and that the woman had four children, although the police could not confirm that.

The call came in to the police at 11:15 a.m. The deceased were not yet being identified to the public as of 6:30. The woman lived at the residence, but it’s not clear whether the man lived there.

Update: The New York Post has a story that corroborates what we’ve reported and adds a few details: The woman was named Florenciana Martinez and the man was Edwin Rodriguez. They were discovered by Martinez’s 19-year-old son.

St. Louis Hall has been undergoing construction so that it can be used to house formerly homeless people with a history of mental illness: “Seventy-four units will be set-aside for single adults with histories of recent homelessness and mental illness. Corresponding to the renovation schedule, new tenants will move in over a several month period beginning in November 2012 and ending in September 2013, when the building should be fully occupied,” according to the website for the building. Neighbors have complained about the construction, safety and health problems at the site, as well as the city’s increasing use of buildings in the 90′s for supportive housing.

Clarification: We initially said St. Louis Hall is an SRO and homeless shelter. In addition to SRO tenants, the building is meant to house people with histories of mental illness and recent homelessness, as referred by the Department of Homeless Services, but is not a traditional homeless shelter.

Thank you to our anonymous tipsters and photographer on this story.

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    1. N says:

      The residents in this trgedy were longtime tenats and not new people.. There are no “health” problems at this site. Please get your facts straight.

      • UWSider says:

        N, get your own facts straight. Long-time residents have had multiple complaints of health problems from construction dust (some of it including asbestos) in the building from an 80% gut renovation with people still living there. Construction began with no safety plan, and the building broke its promise to put in place safeguards to prevent health problems caused by the dust. One woman died last year after complaining of respiratory distress. Another woman at the shelter behind it was taken to the emergency room last year because of the building’s failure to contain the dust. You are correct that those involved were long-time residents who had been harassed by the building operator which has been systematically trying to remove the prior residents with great success. there are only about 20 left out of the original 50-60 or so. The majority of the new residents are being drawn from the Dept of Homeless Services mentally ill chemical addicts population. DHS tries to claim that the building is not a “shelter” but the new residents are its own clients. That’s splitting a pretty fine hair if you ask me.

    2. Richard says:

      Right across the street from me. Terrific.

    3. b says:

      This building is not a homeless shelter. The woman had been a tenant there for many years. This tragedy can happen in any socio-economic class. Don’t make this story out to be what it is not.

    4. Amy says:

      WHY are they putting ANOTHER of these things here??? The SRO owners have proven incapable of (or uninterested in) managing/caring for the people placed in these buildings. They (the owners, not the residents) are leeches pulling favors and exploiting people who need real help, leaving the rest of us to live with the results.

      Enough already!!!

    5. westSider says:

      renovate it to condos or class A apartments.

      these SROs are relics from another era.

      the neighborhood , the world has changed.

      put them to proper use and the city will also collect more in taxes to subsdize housing somewhere else.

      enough already

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        I would like some clarification. Is the “WestSider” who often leaves inflammatory comments here against affordable housing and public housing the same person who writes for and/or edits the West Side Rag under the name “West Sider”? this seems important. there is the difference of a “space” between the two names.

        • West Sider says:

          Sorry for the confusion Bruce. The commenter WestSider is not one of the authors of the articles written by “West Sider” on West Side Rag. We only comment occasionally and generally just to clarify something with another commenter or answer a question. Avi

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            thank you for the clarification, Avi.

            Obviously I believe that the “commenting” “WestSider” has every right to express his or her opinions, even if i disagree with them. However, i don’t believe he or she has the right to adopt a moniker so close to the pen name of the editor / writer. This is clearly misleading and unfair to both the readers and the web site.

            For a long time I had the impression that these comments by this “Westsider” were in some way editorial comments of the West Side Rag. I don’t believe this is something the Rag web site wants to convey.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            It is simple courtesy and etiquette not to give an anonymous name like “westSider” when the writer of most of these articles is named “West Sider.” i can only conclude that the commenter “westSider” has extreme lack of creativity in his/her choice of names or has the intention of misleading people into thinking he/she is the “official voice” of the Web site.

            • westSider says:

              My intent was not to confuse or deceive. To be honest , I did not notice that the author used a similar moniker. just a mistake. I will use another one going forward.

              Not sure what it will be yet.. but Bruce I am sure you will guess who I am..

              but from the looks of the other commentators, my opinions are not just mine.
              I always think its interesting that no one is more intolerant of others opinions more then lefties… just an observation.

        • westSider says:

          I do not write for this blog. However, I am entitled to my opinion Bruce.

          Sorry, if it does not jive with your extremist left wing view that is not based on the reality that we must live in.

          I am all for housing to be affordable. I do not believe that subsidizing special interests at the cost of everyone one else is the way to do it. It is simply unfair to the taxpayer who already pay a fortune to live here in rent and taxes.

          and FYI, I am complete liberal when it comes to human rights, I just do not think its fair or just for us to subsidize SROS at $3k per month which also undermine the safety and quality of life of the nieghbhorhood.

      • Beth says:

        I agree with westSider. Another problem with these SROs/supportive housing is that they are turning this neighborhood into not just haves and have nots, but have-a-lots and have-nothings. There are so many units tied up in rent stabilization and supportive housing that the units available command a very high price. Priced out of this market, former middle class residents of this neighborhood have been forced to move to Central Harlem and Inwood. The people who can afford the rents here also tend to send their children to private schools, leaving mostly the poorest students at the zoned schools. I am also convinced this income disparity has created a lot of the commercial vacancies we see in this area. There is just too much of a mix of incomes to support retail business. I don’t know who thinks having all these supportive housing units here is a good idea, because it just isn’t.

    6. chris says:

      Don’t forget the confirmed stabbing at the Piedmont shelter on 97th st!
      When is enough enough for our neighborhood!!
      Publish that.
      Why is it that the crime seems to surround the shelters?
      HMMMM….

    7. Rose says:

      These shelters are having such a negative impact on this beautiful neighborhood. Most of the shelter residents disrespect the residents, and usually urinate all over the street! Also, as a result, in shelter residents crime of the street has risen.

      • hm says:

        As the first commenter stated, these residents pre-date the new ownership of this building. It is NOT a shelter. It is an affordable community residence for people with special needs. All residents pay to live there. Reaching out and including these folks in the community would do a lot more to help instead of the NIMBY attitude. Everyone has a right to housing.

    8. Bruce Bernstein says:

      i find some of the comments on this article to be really unfortunate and even disturbing.

      This is an extreme family tragedy that happened to a neighbor of ours who has, according to the Daily News, lived and worked in the neighborhood for decades. But some commenters are using this to try and trash subsidized housing. Why? What about expressing regret about what happens to her 4 children, including, according to the Daily News, a 4 year old?

      The victim probably lived in the neighborhood much longer than many of these commenters.

      There are similar tragedies in this neighborhood all the time. I know of at least one in my CONDO where there was a suicide of a well paid professional. Noone used this to attack well paid professionals.

      I have to wonder why THIS particular tragedy is used to apparently attack a certain class of people, or a certain type of housing. I

      One more point: she was apparently a long time tenant in the building, not a person with “history of mental illness and recent homelessness, as referred by the Department of Homeless Services.” The West Side Rag’s “clarification” makes it seem that the building ONLY houses people like that. It also houses previous tenants, of which the victim apparently was one.

      • Beth says:

        I make no apologies for my comments.

        I have lived on the UWS since 1988.

        I am tired of the city bringing the mentally ill and/or substance abusers into this neighborhood. I have friends, who have been forced to move out of this neighborhood, because of rising rents. It’s infuriates me that my friends can’t afford to stay, while the city rolls out the welcome mat for the MICA population.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          and what, pray tell, does all that have to do with this domestic tragedy?

          • Beth says:

            It is a reminder that the continued existence of these SROs is an entry for the city to flood this neighborhood with the mentally ill and drug abusing.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              the woman who was murdered was a hard working member of our community and was neither mentally ill nor a drug abuser.

    9. Bruce Bernstein says:

      There seem to be a lot of critics of “subsidized housing” and even “rent stabilized tenants.”

      Have any of you stopped to think that, if you OWN your coop or condo apt, you are subsidized? and the higher your mortgage, the more the subsidy?

      the mortgage interest tax deduction is a subsidy, and for these expensive apartments, it is a subsudy that is possibly much more than most people in low income housing or rent stabilized housing. Further, owners benefit by low residential property — another form of subsidy — plus various tax abatements.

    10. Bruce Bernstein says:

      By chance, I found out some things today about the woman that was murdered. Although I am sure i had seen her, i don’t recall speaking to her. Nevertheless, I want to post some things just to make her “real” to people and to avoid this incident being reduced to a caricature.

      She worked at the Super Taco truck which is usually parked at 96th and Broadway. I think she worked there as a chef. They have a collection jar and a picture of her set up there. She was a lovely looking woman and appeared younger than her 44 years.

      She was Mexican and had children, including a 4 year old she had with the man who killed her.

      She also volunteered her time at thrift stores in the neighborhood. Apparently she was well known and loved by many people in our community.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        I forgot to list her name. On the Super Taco truck, it lists her as Socorro Martinez.

      • Erica says:

        Bruce, thank you for sharing some information about our neighbor, who has suffered a terrible death. Even in a world with strong political divisions, I would think that all of us – every last one of us – could spare a moment of sympathy for someone who suffers such a fate.

        No matter your political perspective, there has to be something really wrong if you cannot feel the sorrow of a family that has lost its mother, or pause to reflect upon an individual’s terror facing death by violence. No matter your political perspective, you can be human in your response to another human being. This should be true even if the victim were a poor or homeless or mentally ill person here entirely on the City’s dime, even if he or she represented the kind of supportive housing that so many of you apparently find overwhelmingly harmful to our neighborhood. As Bruce has now pointed out several time, she was not – she was one of “us” (at least if you define “us” to mean the people working and trying to make it every day, or to mean the people who make this neighborhood work, or to mean someone facing the challenges of everyday life in a changing neighborhood).

        I hope that the family of this victim does not read these disheartening comments.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          very nicely said, Erica. thank you for representing the “true” spirit of this neighborhood so well in your remarks.

          • Sinai says:

            Some people should really do some serious search before publishing inaccurate statements. Socorro Martinez was my mother, before St louis turned into property owned by the city it was a residence building who sheltered hard working below low income tenants in the neighborhood. Majority of the residents were rent stabelized tenants whom like my mother, brothers, I and many other families living under these SRO shelter circumstances have been living for many years. My family and i have been living in the st louis building for the past 26 years. To clarify things. NO, she did not work at the taco truck, in fact she actually managed the st francic thrift shop located on 96th btw broadway and amsterdam for the past 20 years, she was a very joyful caring person whom worked 6 days a week 10 hours a day at the shop to help out the needy in the upper west side community. Yes she does have 4 kids, 3 in college and one 5 year old whom was father by the man whom tragically took her away from us. Get your facts straight, no mental or health problems affecting the community here, atleast nobody else from her tragic death was affected here besides her childrens hearts.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              Sinai, thank you for taking the time to post the info about your mother. my condolences to you and your family.

              I am sorry that I got the information wrong about your mom working at SuperTaco. i must have misunderstood what the workers there told me.

              this was a terrible thing to have happened. i think the vast majority of the residents of this community sympathize with you and your family and are not represented by some of the very ugly comments above. people like to hide behind anonymity to say ugly and hurtful things; apparently they don’t think about the people they are hurting.