Sunday, August 17, 2008

Breaks My Heart

A man should never have to go through this...


A promising professional boxer and three-time Daily News Golden Gloves champion was shot to death early Saturday after getting into a fight at a Bronx bodega, police said.

Ronney (Venezuela) Vargas, 20, a junior middleweight who turned professional last year, was pistol-whipped and then shot in the chest in his car in East Tremont.

Vargas' death comes just as the Bronx native's undefeated professional career was taking off, making him one of the city's hottest boxing prospects.

"He had a future," said his distraught father, German Vargas, 52. "They didn't just kill a boxer, they killed a champ."

Police said Vargas and five friends got into a beef with two couples at the 2001 Delicatessen on Clinton Ave. about 3:30 a.m.

A police source said the men became enraged after they noticed Vargas chatting with their girlfriends.

"It was a dispute over some females," the police source said. "He talked to the wrong girls, and the boyfriend didn't like it. It was senseless. Stupid."

The dispute so enraged the men that when Vargas and his buddies drove off in a Honda Accord, they followed close behind in a white car.

Several blocks away, on Hughes Ave., the suspects pulled up and blocked Vargas' car.

Then a man came to Vargas' driver-side window and pistol-whipped him before shooting him in the chest.

Cops said Vargas tried to drive off backward, sideswiping several cars before he got out of the vehicle and collapsed in the street.

"His friend got on his knees and held him in his arms, like a mother rocks a baby," said a woman who watched the shooting from her apartment window. "He said, 'Don't die on me.'"

Vargas was pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital. Police haven't made an arrest.

A dramatic surveillance video obtained by The News shows the scene of the shooting, including Vargas' car careening backward and his friends frantically calling for help afterward.

The victim's older brother, Ronald Vargas, 24, suspects the boxer's good looks and rising profile contributed to his murder.

"He was famous in the neighborhood," the brother said. "They called him 'Venezuela.' He was good-looking. He was on his way up."

Vargas, who trained at the Webster Police Athletic League in the Bronx, made his professional debut in 2007 after earning Golden Gloves titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He had a stellar 8-0 record with six knockouts since turning pro.

"He was a good kid. You don't believe it's real," said Michael O'Connor, who worked with Vargas at the Webster PAL.

He lived with his father and two brothers in the South Bronx.

"I love my block," Vargas said during an interview in January. "I love the people around here. Everyone knows each other, so it's hard for me to move out and start my life somewhere else."

1 comment:

BH said...

Senseless. Just senseless. What a shame.