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2 NYC Shelter Guards Charged with Murdering Homeless Men

October 31, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Two homeless men staying in city shelters were stabbed to death by private security guards in less than a week, police said.

″This really has us just sick,″ said Beth Gorrie, associate director of the Coalition for the Homeless. ″You get a guy down on his luck, he finally convinces himself to come inside and escape the dangers of the street, and what does he have to fear most? The guards.″

Shawn Reese, 27, was stabbed to death Oct. 23 in a shelter in Brooklyn, said police spokesman Sgt. Ed Burns. Jamil Denyusuf, 25, a guard with Globe Security Systems, was arrested the following day.

Lonnie Palante, 29, who lived at a shelter in the Bronx, was fatally stabbed in the stomach Wednesday during a dispute with guard Bobby Curry, Burns said. Curry, an employee with Halbey Security of Manhattan, turned himself in later Wednesday.

Both guards were charged with second-degree murder, Burns said. The slayings were unrelated, and neither of the guards had a previous criminal record, he said.

Ms. Gorrie said the city’s policy of packing the homeless into ever-larger ″human warehouses″ was exacerbating the problem. According to city officials, 9,200 people were living in city shelters this week.

The Human Resources Administration, which runs the shelters, is reviewing its security measures, said spokeswoman Suzanne Trazoff.

″We have made some changes because security in the shelters has obviously been of concern to us for quite some time,″ said Trazoff, adding the HRA does not want to put police officers in the shelters because it creates ″a prison- like atmosphere.″

But Ms. Gorrie, who said shelter residents ″are fearful for their lives,″ suggested police might be the short-term solution to replace the current system of ″rent-a-cops hired on a low-bid basis by the HRA.″

Officials at the two security companies declined to comment on the stabbings.

″We regret the incident happened, but we have no comment at this time,″ said Dick Lauer of Halbey Security. A man answering the phone at Globe Security said only ″Get in touch with police″ before hanging up.

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