Air National Guardsman killed by ex in murder-suicide called NYPD twice days before death
By THOMAS TRACY AND LARRY MCSHANE | New York Daily News | Published: September 23, 2018
(Tribune News Service) — The NYPD twice bungled the complaints of a terrified Queens woman targeted by an obsessive ex-boyfriend in the days before he fatally shot her, police sources said Saturday.
Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Regan Smith cited three vandalism incidents linked to spurned lover Nelson Giron, 47 — the last two just four days before he entered her apartment and opened fire, said the sources and friends of the victim.
"The brass is not happy with how the 114 (Precinct) handled these complaints," said a source with knowledge of the case.
Police acknowledged Smith, 31, filed her first complaint with the NYPD on Sept. 10 after her car was keyed in Queens — with the woman blaming ex-boyfriend Giron in a call directed to the precinct’s domestic violence unit.
One week later, she called to lodge another keying complaint, this one involving her new boyfriend’s vehicle, along with a second report that her apartment door was damaged by someone fiercely banging on it.
Though Giron was the likely suspect in each instance, no one could prove he was involved, there were no eyewitnesses and nothing was done, said police sources. Smith was dead from a gunshot to the head early Friday in a murder-suicide after Giron entered her apartment.
A friend of the victim told the Daily News that Giron twice pounded Smith’s apartment door to the point where it was badly damaged and called the victim repeatedly in the hours before killing her, wounding her current boyfriend and taking his own life.
“She was scared of him,” said friend Stephanie Mino. “They (police) did nothing and now she’s gone.”
A memorial with two photos of Smith, one in her military uniform, appeared Saturday outside her Astoria apartment building along with flowers, candles and a white balloon.
“My heart is shattered into pieces & it will never be the same without you,” wrote Smith’s friend Dee Delgado-Faltings on Facebook. “You are the greatest friend any girl could have asked for. RIP man, I love you so damn much.”
Smith was in the apartment with her new boyfriend, off-duty Yonkers Police Officer Hewett DePass, 43, who survived the bloodshed with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and two stab wounds. Police said Giron used a weapon belonging to DePass, who was recovering at Elmhurst General Hospital. “He’s hanging in there,” said the cop’s dad.
A GoFundMe page to raise money for Smith’s burial in her home state of Iowa detailed her 14-year career in the U.S. armed forces, during which she rose to the rank of staff sergeant. Cops were seen taking her two beloved French bulldogs out of her apartment after the shootings.
Smith moved to New York from the Corn Belt a decade ago, according to the fund-raising page. She joined the Air National Guard in 2004, and was currently assigned to the 105th Operations Group based in Newburgh.
Giron had a rap sheet including three New York arrests, with the most recent for using a Bronx stash house to hide 95 pounds of marijuana. He and four others were transporting the pot from Florida for sale in the borough, authorities charged.
Florida news reports indicate he was arrested in 2014 with more than $100,000 cash and anabolic steroids inside her car on Interstate 95.
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