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5856: Subway Shooting Victim Honored (fwd)
Subway Shooting Victim Honored
Family,friends mourn Haitian immigrant
by Ray Sánchez Staff Writer
Nixon Louis was not remembered yesterday as a great-grandson of
Charlemagne Peralte, the legendary Haitian
army-officer-turned-guerrilla-leader of a peasant rebellion against the
first American occupation of that country early this century. Instead,
Louis was honored in a modest Brooklyn funeral service as a loving son
and brother, a caring and humble immigrant who touched many people
before he was gunned down on a No. 2 train under lower Manhattan on
Election Day. "Louis, we will remember you day and night," said Andy
Jean, 28, his best friend. "We will remember you when we work. We will
remember you in our dreams.We will remember you every day." More than
150 mourners crowded Eben-Ezer Baptist Church in Crown Heights yesterday
to pay their respects to Louis, 28, who sorted packages and loaded
trucks for United Parcel Service. Louis was buried yesterday at Cypress
Hills Cemetery. His mother, Servilia Dessert, who arrived from Haiti
late Friday night and went from the airport straight to her son's wake,
could barely stand in a front pew. His 66-year-old father, Genty, a
retired factory worker who invited his son to come live with him in
America a decade ago, dabbed tears from his eyes.His sister, Genta, 30,
cried uncontrollably, "Why God? Why Nixon?" "He came to be with me," his
father cried in his native Creole. "He came so I wouldn't be alone." In
the small church, there were co-workers and neighbors and dozens of
other Haitian immigrants who have built new lives in New York after
escaping the bloody throes of the Duvalier dictatorships long ago.
Louis died Nov. 7 at 4 a.m. from a gunshot wound in the abdomen. He was
on his way to work when he fell asleep in the second car of a
Manhattan-bound No.2 train. In the three minutes it takes for the No. 2
to travel under the East River from Clark Street in Brooklyn to Wall
Street in Manhattan, a gunman reached for a thin gold chain dangling
from Louis' neck. Police said the victim was startled awake, then shot.
On Friday, two men were indicted on murder and attempted robbery
charges in connection with the crime-the second homicide in the subways
this year. Both are being held without bail pending their arraignment.
The alleged gunman, Michael Amuso, 28, of Staten Island, who had 14
convictions dating from 1988, was arrested shortly after the shooting.
His alleged accomplice, Ali Carrington, 25, of East Elmhurst, was
arrested Nov.11.A committee in the office of Manhattan District Attorney
Robert Morgenthau will decide whether to seek the death penalty for
Amuso. "I feel like I am going away with him," Jean said during
yesterday's service."I feel like I've lost a part of me." Standing in
the chill outside a Canarsie funeral home at Friday night's wake, Jean
said, "Sometimes we would drive around and Louis would tell me to drive
carefully. He said he wasn't ready to die. He said he wanted to get
married. He wanted a son. He was just starting to live." Louis was born
in Hinche, Haiti, on April 21, 1972-the same year his father moved to
New York. As is common in Haiti, he was named after the U.S. president
at the time, Richard Nixon. Genty Louis toiled in factories for two
decades, then asked his son and daughter to join him in New York.
Relatives said Louis was the maternal great-grandson of Peralte, one of
Haiti's famed revolutionaries who was hunted down and killed by U.S.
Marines in blackface on Nov. 1, 1919. Peralte, leader of peasant groups
known as the "Cacos," was crucified on a door bearing a Haitian flag and
put on public display in the northern city of Cap-Haitien.
Nixon Louis, like his father, sought a better life in America. He became
a U.S. citizen two years ago, and he planned to vote in his first
presidential election after working his shift on Election Day.
"He wanted to vote," his sister Genta said. "He believed that people
died so we could have the right to vote."