Jesus Morales, known to most has Jesse, was a prominent fixture in our South Slope community for more than 20 years. Though he lived in Merrick, Long Island, his business was here, Ramirez Travel, located at 579 5th Avenue. The website for the travel agency states that “our customers are treated like members of our family.”
Marketing professionals make statements like that every day, but after spending the morning talking to friends and neighbors who knew Jesse, we wholeheartedly believe that, in this case, his customers were his family.
Jesse was brutally slain on Wednesday evening as he walked down 18th Street near 5th Avenue. While police have said that they believe he was there to buy a car, his family tells DNAinfo that he was simply headed to his own parked car.
Longtime South Slope resident Mesbah Abdul told us what many neighbors repeated – that Jesse was an incredibly nice person.
“Everyone loved him,” Mesbah said. “I would always go and buy airline tickets from him, and at one time, even got my car insurance from him. He had such a big heart, and always gave a hand to anyone who needed help. He is going to be missed. I am so heartbroken.”
Silvestre Valerio of CNS Family Hardware, located across the street from Jesse’s travel agency, may have been one of the last people to see him before the attack.
“He was in here at 6:45pm or 7pm last night,” Silvestre told us. “He would always close up his office, and just come over to say hi. He asked how my family was. Oh my God, I can’t believe this.”
Silvestre and his co-worker, Francisco Puebla, who both grew up in South Slope, have known Jesse for years.
“He was so much more than a neighbor,” said Silvestre. “He was like a father to me.”
Our deepest condolences to Jesse’s family, friends, and neighbors.
No arrests have been made in Wednesday’s attack, and police say that the investigation is still ongoing.
Photo via Facebook