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The murder of Nicole duFresne on the Lower East Side last week is still shocking the neighborhood, not to mention anyone who is out and about in the wee hours. The police have been pursuing leads based on surveillance camera tapes. There is a group of seven people, in "baggy winter clothes," seen on tapes, but police are not sure this was the group that attacked duFresne and her friends. A group attacked another man earlier in the evening, but he was "pistol-whipped for his $900 jacket" only. Additionally, the National Latino Officers Association and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care have added to the reward money, saying this murder should not be a race issue - it's a tragedy all around. The latest reports say that the police are speaking with three teenagers:

Police now believe the violence started when four young men mugged an off-duty security guard about a block from the murder scene. Shortly afterward, the predators spotted DuFresne, 28, and the three others at Rivington and Clinton streets.

One of the muggers challenged two teenage girls who were with them — saying they just robbed a guy and asking what the girls could do. The girls planned to show they were as tough as their friends by beating up DuFresne and Gibson — but things quickly escalated, the sources said.

The 19-year-old smashed Sparks in the face with his gun, then tried to grab a purse from Gibson. That's when DuFresne issued a challenge: "What are you going to do, shoot us?"

A NY Times article about duFresne's fearlessness appeared on Saturday. While she was a survivor in many respects, Gothamist can't help but wonder what would have happened if she hadn't tried to intervene with the robbers. And Newsday hit the Lower East Side, speaking to newbies and long-time residents. Their reactions ranged from "I don't know if this is a sign of things to come or just a one-off incident" to "I've walked alone here at night without any problems."

Photo from WNBC