FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 20, 2019
Two Men Convicted of Murder for Bedford-Stuyvesant Courtyard Shooting
That Killed Two Innocent Women Who Were Struck by Stray Bullets
Defendants Fired Total of 10 Shots into Crowd of Approximately 20 People
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two men have been convicted of murder for a July 2017 shooting that left two young, completely innocent women dead. The defendants opened fire into a crowded Bedford-Stuyvesant courtyard, striking each of the victims once.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Two innocent women, each of them a young mother, died when these defendants callously opened fire on a crowd that was peacefully gathered in a courtyard on a summer evening. The victims’ daughters will now grow up without the love and support of their mothers. We cannot allow gun violence like this to continue to wreak havoc on our communities.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Nazir Saunders, 22, of Harlem and Anthony Alexander, 19, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. They were each convicted today of two counts of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte. The defendants each face up to 50 years to life in prison when they are sentenced on June 10, 2019.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 12, 2017 at about 9:30 p.m. the defendants entered the courtyard of 750 Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is part of the Stuyvesant Gardens Houses. A group of about 20 people were hanging out at the location at the time.
The defendants started shooting, firing a total of 10 bullets, four from a .45-caliber gun and six from a .380-caliber firearm. They missed their intended targets and fatally struck two women who were in the courtyard. Chynna Battle, 21, mother of a 3-year-old daughter, was shot in the head, and Shaqwanda Staley, 29, mother of a 9-year-old daughter, was shot once in the back.
Both defendants fled the scene and were later arrested in South Carolina on October 31, 2017.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Diamond, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.