2011-12-20 / World

Suspect in NYC torching charged

NEW YORK (AP) — Deloris Gillespie was a fun- loving, fast-talking mother of four who helped anyone she could in her Brooklyn neighborhood and at the post office where she worked for years.

Suddenly, in a few fiery moments in an elevator — her life was snuffed out.

On Monday, with a suspect behind bars charged in her murder, “I can’t believe she’s gone!” said Violet Young, a former colleague from a Brooklyn post office where Young said they both had worked. “I saw her two weeks ago at the bus stop, and she gave me her cellphone number.”

Flower bouquets and candles graced the entrance to the six-story apartment building where the 73- year- old woman lived, on a quiet street in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood lined with brownstones.

Gillespie worshipped at the Brotherhood Baptist Church a few blocks away, true to her Southern roots.

Her funeral is planned for after Christmas, according to City Council member Letitia James, speaking on behalf of the family, who she said has requested total privacy.

Gillespie leaves one daughter and three sons, according to James.

She was also active in community affairs, helping organize celebrations including those for Martin Luther King Day. And she would attend community council meetings to try to keep crime out of a neighborhood that is becoming highly gentrified, with younger professionals moving into buildings like the one on Underhill Avenue where Gillespie lived since the 1960s, neighbors said.

“She was a funny person, and she made people happy,” said Young, adding that Gillespie worked nights, sorting mail at a postal facility in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood.

The man accused of killing Gillespie, Jerome Isaac, was often seen at her apartment last year doing odd jobs, coming and going at various hours, said Jaime Holguin, who lives on the same floor as Gillespie.

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