FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 23, 2016
Brooklyn Man Sentenced in Absentia to 40 Years in Prison for
Shooting Five Members of a Family with whom he had an Ongoing Dispute
Defendant Sought Revenge after Being Reported to Police
For Throwing Milkshake at Teenage Girl in McDonald’s Restaurant
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 25-year-old Bushwick man was sentenced in absentia to 40 years in prison for opening fire on the family of a young woman with whom he had an ongoing dispute, striking five of them, including her father.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant brazenly shot and injured five people, all of whom are lucky to be alive. When it became clear, near the end of trial, that the evidence against him was overwhelming he absconded. Let’s be clear, however, that he will be found and will serve many years in prison.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Curtis Peterson, 25, of Greene Avenue in Bushwick. He was sentenced to 40 in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Gary. The defendant was convicted last month of three counts of first-degree assault, one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of second-degree assault, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree harassment last month following a jury trial. The defendant, who was free on $100,000 bail, absconded following summations.
The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 20, 2013, at approximately 2 p.m., the defendant, who was with a group of young men, approached the victims, who were on Menahan Street. He opened fire, striking Ronaldo Pizarro, 45, in the stomach, striking Pizarro’s wife Melody Amill, 37, in the knee, and striking his son, Ronaldo Jr., 22, in the leg. Pizarro’s aunt, Wanda Espinoza, 45, was hit in the stomach and another relative, Manuel Rivera, 62, was hit in the ankle.
Furthermore, according to trial testimony, Peterson had an ongoing dispute with Pizarro’s 18-year-old daughter whom he harassed on July 18, 2013, by showing up at her job in a McDonald’s and throwing a milkshake at her. Pizarro’s daughter, at the behest of her parents, reported the harassment to the police, according to testimony, leading Peterson to seek retaliation by confronting and shooting at her family members.
Finally, according to trial testimony, a 9mm Taurus semiautomatic handgun was found at the scene and the defendant’s DNA was present on the firearm. The defendant fled to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he was arrested several days later.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Chief of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Ross Yaggy, also of the Grey Zone.