March 29, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Several dozen people marched through the streets of Astoria Sunday evening, demanding justice for a woman who was killed by a stray bullet near Woodside Houses two weeks earlier.
The march, held in memory of Gudelia Vallinas, started at the corner of 50th Street and Broadway, where the fatal shooting took place March 12, and ended at 114th Precinct.
As of Sunday, no arrests had been made in connection to Vallinas’ death, the NYPD said.
Astoria resident Lupe Guzman organized the event to remember the mother of two and call for additional safety measures in the area, which is on the border of Woodside and Astoria. Two other shootings – one fatal – have also taken place around Woodside Houses since Villinas was killed.
The march was held just days after another rally was held by elected officials and local residents to condemn gun violence in the area.
“It’s our responsibility to demand a safer Astoria,” Guzman said. “Let’s rise to the occasion and get involved in the community – that is the only way we are going to make changes.”
“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” Guzman said.
Vallinas’ sister, Brenda Fortoso, joined the march and addressed attendees.
“I don’t need to tell you what kind of person [Vallinas] was, because everybody in the community knew her,” Fortoso said. “To see this community getting together for my sister means that this community is not going to stop.”
“It doesn’t matter if it rains. We are going to be here every single day if it is necessary until we find out who did this to her,” Fortoso continued. “It’s not fair that someone has to die – a mother, a sister. No, no more.”
Fortoso expressed her gratitude to the 50 or so people in attendance on behalf of Vallinas’ family, including her two young children.
“Thank you to every single one of you who came and is showing support,” she said.
A fundraiser for Vallinas’ funeral service has since raised nearly $65,000 – close to $45,000 over its goal – as of Sunday night. Vallinas husband, Alfredo, noted on the page that the additional money would be used to help pay for their children’s education.