Updated 10/25/2010 06:23 PM
RPD Investigates Post Avenue Homicide
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He worked with the disabled, volunteered his time with kids, and led Bible studies. Now 40 year old Paul Vasconcellos is Rochester's latest homicide victim.
Police say Vasconcellos, of Post Avenue, called 911 just before 11 p.m. Sunday night to report someone had shot him.
When officers arrived they found Vasconcellos with a gunshot wound to the upper chest area. An ambulance took Vasconcellos to Strong Hospital, where he later died.
The Center for Disability Rights says Vasconcellos worked as a health aide for four years. RIT says he majored in industrial design, graduating with honors in 1996.
People who know Vasconcellos say he was a kind soul, who filled almost every moment of his life helping others.
For Paul Vasconcellos, helping people was his way of life.
"He was self sacrificing, to the point where if we needed something from him we'd have to be like hey Pauly, you can say no if you want, you don't have to say yes," said Maureen DeCross, Vasconcellos' friend.
Vasconcellos, or Pauly V as he was called, was like family to Doug and Maureen DeCross.
"There's not a job that he wouldn't do because it was below him," said Doug DeCross. "He was very humble."
"He was just the nicest guy," added Maureen. "If you think of the perfect person, Pauly, he just symbolized Jesus."
Vasconcellos worked as an aide to the DeCross family. Two of their three sons have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
"He just filled in the pieces where Justin's hands wouldn't work," said Doug.
Vasconcellos is from Massachusetts and came to RIT in the early 90s. He found a faith home at Victory Baptist Church where the DeCross' are also members.
"He's like a brother to me, and he was one of our family. He just, we were his family here," said Maureen.
The DeCross' say whoever killed Vasconcellos most likely didn't know who he was.
"This is our Pauly, he was the gentle, kindest person in the world, and it just, it doesn't make sense," added Maureen.
"If he had $20 in his pocket he wouldn't said here's the 20, and wait a second let me go to the ATM and get more if you need it," said Doug of his friend.
"He would have given him anything, everything. And he would've told him about Jesus while he was doing," said Maureen.
Members of this community are now helping each other to deal with the painful and senseless loss.
"The thing that comforts me the most is that God loved him so much that he wanted him with him," said Maureen.
"Although I don't understand it, I don't doubt that it's coming from a loving God," said Doug. "And at some point I'll be able to see the other side of the tapestry and understand it a little more."
Police ask anyone with information about the case to call 911.