Friends of murdered NJ nurse ‘afraid to go into New York’

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Mourners at the funeral for the New Jersey cancer nurse fatally shoved by a deranged homeless man in Times Square said the recent violence in the Big Apple has left them “afraid to go into New York.”

“For the past weeks and months, we’ve been hearing about shootings and everything, and we’re just afraid to go into New York,” Ailen Alagar, who worked with Maria Ambrocio at Bayonne Medical Center, said outside St. Henry Roman Catholic Church in Bayonne on Monday.

“It has been like that before and it was fixed and we could go there and we could have fun,” Alagar told The Post. “But now what is happening in New York, I really don’t know what’s going on.”

“What happened to my friend, it’s not supposed to happen,” she added.

Funeral for Maria Ambrocio.
About 150 mourners packed the church to pay their final respects to Maria Ambrocio.
Gregory P. Mango

About 150 mourners packed the church to pay their final respects to the beloved 58-year-old nurse, whose life was cut short Oct. 8 when police said Jermaine Foster, 26, slammed into her after stealing a cell phone at the Crossroads of the World.

Ambrocio, who cracked her head on the pavement, never regained consciousness and was taken off life support the next day.

A memorial image of Maria Ambrocio.
Maria Ambrocio died from sustained a head injury after Jermaine Foster shoved her while stealing her cell phone, causing Ambrocio to hit her head on the sidewalk.
James Keivom

There’s been a slight uptick in major crime across the five boroughs over the past 28 days, including felony assault which is up 18.6 percent, according to NYPD Compstat numbers released Monday.

Her friends and relatives said at Monday’s funeral service that they’re still in shock over Ambrocio’s tragic death.

“We were hoping that tomorrow we would wake up and realize it was just a bad dream,” the Rev. Raul Gaviola said during the service. “Shock and disbelief. I just could not believe Ate Ning Ning is gone” — calling Ambrocio by her nickname.

Jermaine Foster.
Jermaine Foster is being held without bail for Maria Ambrocio’s death.
Tomas E. Gaston

“We are here today because we love Ate Ning Ning,” he said. “We are sad. We are really broken, and most of us probably would not even know how to get through the day.”

Gaviola said he still looks to the pews on the right side of the chapel during mass “because Ate Ning Ning used to sit in that area there.”

Ambrocio’s cousin, Rosally Daniel, called her death “shocking” during the eulogy.

Norma Lardizabal (left) and Ailen Alagar.
“For the past weeks and months, we’ve been hearing about shootings and everything, and we’re just afraid to go into New York,” Ailen Alagar (right) said.
Gregory P. Mango

“When my cousin texted me about the accident, I was just in disbelief,” Daniel said. “I mean, this just doesn’t happen to our family. It happens to other people.”

“She’s always been supportive,” she added. “She’s always given her time and generosity to her friends, her family, her cousins. I just want to take this time to really celebrate her life.”

“I just want everyone to remember how she spent her life,” Daniel said. “She was a beautiful daughter, a great sister, a great cousin, a great wife. And I’m sure all of you who have been touched by her kindness and her love through the years will miss her.”

Maria Ambrocio's step daughter Lehrie Ambrocio, and husband Irineo Ambrocio.
Maria Ambrocio’s family say that they’re still in shock over her tragic death.
Gregory P. Mango

Foster is being held without bail on murder charges in her death.

Ambrocio’s funeral came one day after hundreds attended her wake and one week after a memorial service for her in Manhattan.

Additional reporting by Tina Moore

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