Four Men, Including MTA Subway Conductor, Indicted for Trafficking Guns Purchased in the South to Sell on Brooklyn Streets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 12, 2020

 

Four Men, Including MTA Subway Conductor, Indicted for Trafficking
Guns Purchased in the South to Sell on Brooklyn Streets

Forty-Four Firearms Purchased During Year-Long Undercover Police Operation;
Sales Took Place Near Defendant’s Brownsville Home

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, today announced the indictment of an alleged gun trafficking ring that purchased firearms in South Carolina and Virginia that were then transported on the Iron Pipeline and destined to be sold on the streets of Brooklyn.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment is part of our multi-pronged approach to stem the surge in gun violence that we have seen in Brooklyn and throughout the entire city this year. We are determined to work with the Police Department to focus specifically on the drivers of crime, including those responsible for the proliferation of firearms by bringing them to the streets of Brooklyn. I commend the detectives, especially the undercovers, and my prosecutors for their joint efforts in this important case.”

Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said, “This indictment is another example of how the NYPD and our law-enforcement partners remain focused on eliminating illegal guns from the streets of New York City. Bringing gun traffickers to justice is dangerous work, but the NYPD remains committed to protecting New York City communities and keeping people safe. I commend the members of our Firearms Suppression Section, and specifically the Firearms Investigations Unit, and the Brooklyn District Attorney for their efforts that resulted in these indictments.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Montoun Hart, 49, of Brownsville, Brooklyn; Vernal Douglas, 49, of Flatlands, Brooklyn; Christopher Hodges, 31, of Walterboro, South Carolina; and Ira Jones, 42, of South Boston, Virginia. The defendants have been variously charged in a 139-count indictment with first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a firearm; second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon; fourth-degree conspiracy and related charges. Hart and Douglas were arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Hart has been remanded and bail was set at $750,000 for Douglas. Jones is awaiting extradition from Virginia. Hodges is being sought.

The District Attorney said the investigation spanned from October 2019 to October 2020 and began based on information obtained about an individual who was allegedly known as a gun merchant in Brownsville. It is alleged that on November 4, 2019, an undercover detective met defendant Montoun Hart for the purpose of purchasing firearms from the defendant. The undercover allegedly made six controlled firearm purchases from the defendant from November 4 to November 19, 2019.

The undercover then facilitated a meeting between the defendant and another undercover, who posed as an associate of the original undercover and who would purchase firearms on his behalf. Between December 3, 2019 and December 30, 2019, the second undercover allegedly made three controlled firearm purchases from the defendant.

On January 17, 2020, the first undercover resumed purchasing firearms directly from Hart and conducted additional controlled firearms purchases. Over the course of the investigation, Hart allegedly conducted a total of 27 controlled gun buys with the undercover officers, selling a total of 44 firearms.

The investigation found that all three of Hart’s alleged suppliers operate independently from one another, but their individual practices are similar: once a supplier obtained a firearm, he would tell Hart the make, model and price via telephone, and often send a photo of it. Hart then passed the details on to his customer (i.e., the undercovers) and scheduled the sale. All of the alleged sales occurred within a block of Hart’s residence.

Douglas, who is employed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as a subway conductor and lives in Flatlands, Brooklyn, also has an address in Williston, South Carolina, where he frequently travels. It is alleged that Douglas obtained firearms during trips to South Carolina and has also asked his sources in South Carolina to send him firearms via the mail.

It is alleged that Christopher Hodges, who lives in and operates out of Walterboro, South Carolina, accumulates firearms from a variety of sources and then travels up to New York via a Chinatown bus company to transfer the firearms to Hart.

Finally, it is alleged that Ira Jones, who lives and operates out of South Boston, Virginia, also travels up to New York with firearms for Hart to sell on the streets of Brooklyn.

Among the numerous firearms recovered are two assault weapons: a German Sport Guns .22 caliber rifle and a Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol, as well as a Ruger .44 caliber revolver, a Smith & Wesson .357 caliber revolver, a Springfield Armory 9mm pistol, a Taurus 9mm, a Glock .380 caliber, a Glock 9mm, and a Ruger P89 9mm pistol.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Daniel Grandstaff, of the NYPD’s Firearms Investigations Unit, with the assistance of Sergeant Charles Arnone and Police Officer Tristan Trunk, of the 71st Precinct, under the supervision of Sergeant Matthew Griffin, Lieutenant James Donovan, Inspector Brian Gill and Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox, and the overall supervision of Rodney Harrison, Chief of Detectives.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Gillian DiPietro, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cilia, VCE Deputy Bureau Chief, Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, VCE Deputy Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Alfred De Ingeniis, VCE Bureau Chief, under the overall supervision of Raymond Tierney, Executive Assistant District Attorney for Crime Strategies and Violent Criminal Enterprises.

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An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Materials displayed during the press conference are available here.

 

 

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Moves to Vacate Conviction in 1987 Murder After Finding That Sole Eyewitness’ Mental Condition Wasn’t Disclosed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 30, 2020

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Moves to Vacate Conviction in 1987 Murder
After Finding That Sole Eyewitness’ Mental Condition Wasn’t Disclosed

Defendant was Paroled in 2016 After Being Incarcerated for 29 Years

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that following an investigation by his Conviction Review Unit (CRU) he will move to vacate the murder conviction of Gerard Domond, who was incarcerated for 29 years before being paroled in 2016. The investigation unearthed documents that showed that the only eyewitness, who testified pursuant to a cooperation agreement, was held in a psychiatric ward before the trial. Because this information was never disclosed to the defense, the defendant was prejudiced unfairly. The full CRU report is available here.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Vacating Mr. Domond’s conviction highlights the fact that even in cases that are very old and difficult to investigate, our Conviction Review Unit will do all it can to correct miscarriages of justice. This investigation revealed that crucial information about the mental state of the only eyewitness was kept from the jury and from the accused, depriving him of a fair trial. I will not stand by a conviction that was obtained unfairly.”

Domond will appear in person before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic today at 2:15 p.m.

The reinvestigation pertained to the March 1987 murder of Patrick Hinkson, who was dropped off in a hospital by a man who said the victim was killed in the parking lot of Club Love in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. That witness provided the victim’s name and address, disappeared before police arrived and was never heard from again. No crime scene was ever established, and no forensic evidence was found.

The prosecution hinged on testimony from a witness identified in the CRU report as FP, who walked into the 77th Precinct three days after the homicide and described the shooting, which he said stemmed from an argument over drug money. FP had open narcotics and robbery cases and by the 1989 trial, he had been incarcerated for several months in Kings County Hospital (KCH) for what the prosecutor claimed was an AIDS diagnosis. The defense called several alibi witnesses, who claimed the defendant was in Georgia at the time of the murder, but some had failed to identify him in earlier interviews or had provided inconsistent dates for his return. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life.

When reviewing all available documents, the CRU found notes in the case file that indicated FP was being held pre-trial in the Psychiatric Forensic Unit in the G Building of KCH. Record searches and interviews with practitioners who worked there at the time, revealed that the G Building exclusively housed psychiatric patients and that FP likely suffered from “a very serious mental health condition.”

FP died in 2006 and his jail and hospital records no longer exist. Other potential witnesses could not be located. But the CRU concluded that the prosecutor should have known of FP’s mental condition and by withholding that information, the defendant was prejudiced and not afforded a fair trial.

This is the 29th conviction vacated since 2014 as a result of the CRU’s work. A public report about the first 25 exonerations can be found here.

This case was investigated by Senior Assistant District Attorney Bruce Alderman, of the District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Mike Trabulsi, formerly of the CRU, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale, Chief of the District Attorney’s Post-Conviction Justice Bureau.

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Former New York City Subway Conductor Charged for Allegedly Stealing $114,000 from New York City Transit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

 

Former New York City Subway Conductor Charged for Allegedly
Stealing $114,000 from New York City Transit

Defendant Allegedly Falsely Certified He was Unemployed While Holding
Law Enforcement Positions in Pennsylvania and Florida

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny and New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg, today announced that a former New York City Transit subway conductor has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with grand larceny and other crimes for allegedly stealing approximately $114,000 in Workers’ Compensation payments from NYC Transit.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly stole more than $100,000 in taxpayer money by claiming he was disabled while simultaneously – and outrageously – holding down a series of law enforcement jobs in other states. We will now seek to bring him to justice and recover the funds that he fraudulently received.”

MTA Inspector General Pokorny said, “This scam artist suddenly suffered a convenient ‘injury,’ when faced with imminent termination as an MTA subway conductor yet was fit enough to relocate to other states and hold a series of law enforcement jobs. All the while he was double-dipping — collecting a salary as a corrections officer and other positions of authority, while lining his pockets with disability payments funded by New York’s taxpayers, as alleged in the indictment.”

NYCT Interim President Feinberg said, “NYC Transit has zero tolerance for fraud and will seek full restitution in this and any case where it is perpetrated.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Giovanni Seminerio, 48, of Alva, Florida. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dena Douglas on a 22-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, first-degree falsifying business records and related charges. The defendant was released and ordered to return to court on November 17, 2020.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant, then a subway conductor for NYC Transit, received notification that he would be terminated on December 8, 2015 for disciplinary charges related to his operation of the trains. That same day, the defendant claimed he had been injured during his shift the day before and sought Workers’ Compensation benefits.

The defendant began receiving Workers’ Compensation payments on May 18, 2016. It is alleged that between October 2016 and August 2019 the defendant periodically signed documents, as required by NYC Transit, falsely certifying that he was not employed in any capacity, including a Daily Activity Questionnaire submitted with his medical exams, and an endorsement on the Workers’ Compensation checks he received.

In fact, from October 2016 to January 2020, the defendant allegedly held a succession of salaried law enforcement positions, including work as a corrections officer for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, the Florida Department of Corrections and the Glades County, Florida Sheriff’s Office and as an Enforcement Specialist for the Lee County, Florida Board of County Commissioners.

It is alleged that the defendant stole approximately $114,000 as a result of his fraud. NYC Transit’s Special Investigation Unit alerted the MTA Inspector General to the fraud during an internal review of Workers’ Compensation cases and suspended his payments in August 2019.

The District Attorney thanked Senior Investigative Attorney Maureen McCormack-MacDougall, Senior Principal Investigator Lawrence McGugins, and other members of the OIG’s Legal and Investigative Unit for their work on this case.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Abigail Rosen, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Laura Neubauer, Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau, Greg Pavlides, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and Michael Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Long Island Man Sentenced to 24 Years to Life in Prison For Murder of Brooklyn Pizzeria Owner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 19, 2020

 

Long Island Man Sentenced to 24 Years to Life in Prison
For Murder of Brooklyn Pizzeria Owner

Victim was Ambushed and Shot to Death Outside His Dyker Heights Home

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Long Island man has been sentenced to 24 years to life in prison for the shooting death of the owner of L&B Spumoni Gardens in Gravesend, Brooklyn. The victim was ambushed outside his home in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. He was carrying $15,483 in cash in a plastic bag when he was killed.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant is now facing the serious consequences for the brazen ambush murder of an innocent and beloved local business owner right outside of his home. Nothing will bring him back, but I hope this significant sentence brings some small measure of solace to his heartbroken family and friends.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Andres (“Andy”) Fernandez, 45, of Melville, Long Island. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to 24 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on December 9, 2019, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on June 30, 2016, at about 6:40 p.m., the victim, Louis Barbati, 61, left his restaurant, L&B Spumoni Gardens, located at 2725 86th Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn. He was carrying a plastic bag containing $15,483 in cash.

About an hour earlier, according to the evidence, the defendant, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, was in the vicinity of the victim’s home on 12th Avenue in Dyker Heights and waited, the evidence shows. At about 7 p.m., the victim arrived at his home, parked his car on the side of the house and got out holding the bag of cash.

The defendant then walked across the street and shot the victim several times, killing him. He subsequently ran, without taking the money, entered a late-model Acura and fled. In addition to being at the murder scene, the defendant was present at L&B Spumoni Gardens earlier that day, according to the evidence.

Surveillance images of the defendant were distributed by the New York City Police Department and he was identified by several witnesses. He was arrested by federal authorities on November 3, 2016.

The District Attorney thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for their assistance in the investigation.

The case was investigated by FBI Special Agent Chance Adam and New York City Police Department Detective James Hemmer, of the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad.

Homicide Paralegal Supervisor Jannette Ayala and Junior Intelligence Analyst Eungee Hwang, of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit, assisted in the prosecution.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Jingu Chong, of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison For 2005 Cold Case Killing of His Girlfriend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 07, 2020

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison
For 2005 Cold Case Killing of His Girlfriend

Defendant Shot Victim Once in the Head;
Charges Filed Following Comprehensive Reinvestigation

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Bedford-Stuyvesant man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the 2005 shooting death of his 22-year-old girlfriend, Desiree Cofield, who was shot in the head in the apartment the couple shared. The defendant was arrested following a lengthy and thorough reinvestigation of the case.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Today’s sentence brings the defendant to justice for taking the life of a young mother of two children. Her life mattered. My Cold Case Unit works hard to bring a measure of closure to families such as the one in this case, who deserve to know what happened to their loved ones and that their killers are held responsible. I am committed to pursuing these cases.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Julius Esquilin, 38, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The defendant was sentenced today to 15 years in prison and five years’ supervised release by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He pleaded guilty on February 10, 2020 to first-degree manslaughter.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on February 19, 2005, at about 1 a.m., the defendant and his girlfriend, Desiree Cofield, 22, had a dispute outside 642 Greene Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which continued inside their apartment on the top floor of that building. A neighbor heard an argument, followed by a single gunshot and observed a blue light flash. The neighbor then heard the deceased’s daughter saying, “Mommy, Mommy,” according to the investigation.

A neighbor called 911 after the defendant banged on the door yelling, “I know you heard that; call the police.” The defendant also called 911 and, when police and EMTs arrived, acted aggressively.

The defendant screamed, broke picture frames and jumped on the victim’s body, according to the investigation. The police discovered the victim on a couch with a single gunshot wound to the head. Her 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old nephew were awake in the bedroom. The victim and the defendant also had a 2-month-old daughter together, who was not present when police arrived.

Police recovered a .380 caliber shell casing, a matching live round and a note signed by the defendant that said, “Even if I am gone, I still love all of my daughters and my big mouth baby mother, Julius.” No gun was recovered.

The defendant had a history of abusing the victim, according to neighbors, the victim’s relatives and prior police reports.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective William Simon of the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, under the supervision of Lieutenant Dennis Klein. The District Attorney would also like to thank DNA Specialist Susan Horan of the District Attorney’s Forensic Science Unit for her work on the case.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Samantha Magnani, Chief of the Construction Crimes and Labor Fraud Unit of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Batsidis, of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Rachel Singer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Forensic Science and Cold Case Unit.

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Teenager Indicted for Attempted Murder for Shooting that Wounded Six During Unofficial J’ouvert Celebration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

 

Teenager Indicted for Attempted Murder for Shooting that Wounded Six During Unofficial J’ouvert Celebration

Defendant Allegedly Fired into Crowd,
Striking Six People, Including 7-Year-Old Boy

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Flatbush teenager has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with attempted murder and related charges for a shooting that wounded six people, including a 7-year-old boy, during an unofficial J’Ouvert Celebration in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly opened fire into a crowd, disrupting a community celebration while showing complete disregard for the devastation he might cause. It is fortunate that no one was killed as a result of his senseless actions. We remain committed to prosecuting gun violence and will now seek to hold this defendant accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Donovan Bailey, 16, of Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Youth Court Justice Craig Walker on a 16-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and related charges. The defendant was ordered held without bail and to return to court on November 17, 2020.

The District Attorney said that on September 7, 2020 at approximately 2:44 a.m., the defendant, who was a week shy of his 16th birthday, allegedly fired into a crowd of people gathered for an unofficial J’ouvert Celebration near the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Crown Street. Six individuals, including a 7-year-old boy, were wounded in the shooting.

First responders rushed the victims to Kings County Hospital. Four victims sustained gunshot wounds to their legs, including the 7-year-old boy who was critically injured and sustained a broken femur. Two victims were shot in the foot.

Video surveillance from the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Crown Street shows a silver vehicle pull up to Crown Street approximately five minutes before the shooting. The surveillance footage also allegedly shows the defendant walking south on Nostrand Avenue with a large procession for several blocks and firing a weapon into a crowd before entering the back-passenger side of the silver vehicle and fleeing the scene.

Detectives from the New York Police Department’s Gun Violence Suppression Unit apprehended the defendant approximately 20 minutes after the shooting at the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Lincoln Road. Police recovered a loaded .40 caliber pistol with an extended magazine from the defendant’s fanny pack, which matched shell casings recovered at the scene.

The case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Senior Assistant District Attorney Cassandra Pond, and Assistant District Attorney Evelina Rene, both of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau.

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An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Murder of Three Individuals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 14, 2020

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Murder of Three Individuals

Defendant Allegedly Shot Victims to Death in Two Separate Incidents

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man has been arraigned on two indictments charging him with first-degree murder and related charges for two separate incidents in June in which he allegedly shot and killed three people.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly went on a murderous crime spree, ruthlessly killing two men and a woman over the course of a week. The defendant allegedly brazenly shot them in broad daylight. We will now seek to bring him to justice. My condolences go out to the families who lost their loved ones to this nonsensical gun violence.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Charles Hernandez, 47, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today and last week before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on two indictments in which he is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree reckless endangerment. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on October 22, 2020. The defendant faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Additionally, the District Attorney said that Liza Jenkins, 47, of East New York, was arraigned last week on an indictment charging her with second-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence for allegedly helping Hernandez get rid of the clothing he allegedly wore during the June 20, 2020 homicide. She was released without bail and ordered to return to court on October 22, 2020.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on June 20, 2020, at approximately 11 a.m., outside of his home in the vicinity of Milford Street and Blake Avenue, in East New York, Kenneth Singleton, 35, was washing his car when the defendant allegedly approached Singleton from behind and shot and killed him.

Furthermore, it is alleged, on June 27, 2020, at approximately 12:30 p.m., Stephanie Perkins, 39, and Chioke Thompson, 23, were sitting on a stoop on Van Siclen Street, near Belmont Avenue, in East New York, when the defendant allegedly approached them and opened fire, shooting and killing both victims. The defendant was allegedly wearing a blond wig, a long coat and carrying an assault rifle.

He was apprehended on July 9, 2020 in West Virginia by the Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean assisted in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Howard Jackson, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Chief of the Homicide Bureau.

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An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and NYPD to Host Gun Buyback Event in East New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and NYPD to Host
Gun Buyback Event in East New York

Will be Held at St. Paul Community Baptist Church on Saturday, September 12;
$200 Will be Given for Every Working Handgun or Assault Rifle, No Questions Asked

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, today announced a Gun Buyback event that will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020 from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at St. Paul Community Baptist Church, located at 859 Hendrix Street in East New York, Brooklyn. The event is hosted in partnership with Rev. David Brawley of East Brooklyn Congregations and Metro IAF, a national community organizing network.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “As we stand up against an uptick in shootings throughout our city and in Brooklyn, we must employ every strategy and engage every part of our community. Saturday’s gun buyback event will provide an opportunity for everyone to turn in a firearm and receive cash – a simple action that can help reduce the number of lethal weapons on our streets. I encourage anyone who is in possession of a gun or a rifle, or knows of someone who is, to come out to St. Paul’s Church, get some money and help make Brooklyn safer. My gratitude to the NYPD and Metro IAF for partnering with us.”

Commissioner Dermot Shea said, “Every day, in all kinds of ways, our NYPD officers work tirelessly to prevent gun violence. This buyback event with the community and our partners in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office represents one more effort to take guns, and the bullets in them, off of our city streets.”

Pastor Brawley said, “We are pleased to work with Brooklyn DA Gonzalez and NYPD Commissioner Shea on this buyback effort. Every gun taken off the street is a gun that can’t do damage to our children and other residents. But we need to do more — identifying the mostly out-of-state gun dealers who supply these weapons in the first place and pressuring gun makers like Glock to cut off their ties to these dealers of neighborhood destruction. Through my work as co-chair of Metro IAF we have proposed the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign which offers a comprehensive outline to do this. We also believe that the time has come for gun makers to integrate state-of-the-art gun safety technology into their weapons.”

The District Attorney said that his Office, along with the NYPD, will offer money in the form of $200 bank cards for each operable gun or assault rifle turned in. All transactions will be anonymous, no questions asked. The bank cards will be issued after each firearm is received and screened by officers on-site. Guns should be unloaded and packaged in a paper or plastic bag or a box when brought to the event. If transported by car, the guns must be kept in the trunk. Both working and inoperable weapons will be accepted.

Participants will receive $25 for operable rifles, shotguns and air guns. Unlimited numbers of guns can be turned in, but participants will receive a limit of $600 in bank cards. No identification is required, and the firearms will be accepted with no questions asked. Active and/or retired law enforcement officers and licensed gun dealers are not eligible for this event.

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Cab Driver Arraigned for Rape of 12-Year-Old Passenger Who He Allegedly Assaulted Twice After Repeatedly Punching Her

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 3, 2020

 

Cab Driver Arraigned for Rape of 12-Year-Old Passenger
Who He Allegedly Assaulted Twice After Repeatedly Punching Her

Defendant Was Hired by Relative to Drive Victim Home;
Allegedly Brandished Gun, Threatened Her if She Reported Attack

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a cab driver has been indicted for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in the early evening hours of August 10, 2020, while driving around with her for more than two hours. The defendant allegedly stopped the cab at two different locations and climbed into the back seat to rape the child, before dropping her at home.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I was sickened to hear of this alleged brutal attack on a helpless young girl who should have been safely driven to her home. I am committed to seeking justice for all victims of sexual assault, including this child, who will live with this trauma for the rest of her life. Keeping our streets safe from violent sexual predators is a top priority and we will seek to hold this defendant fully accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Rafael Martinez, 32, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo on a 28-count indictment charging him with three counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, four counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault, 12 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, three counts of second-degree sexual abuse, three counts of sexual misconduct and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. The defendant, whose bail was set at $200,000, was ordered to return to court on October 19, 2020. He faces a sentence of up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on August 10, 2020, at approximately 5:30 p.m., the defendant allegedly picked up a 12-year-old girl from a relative’s home in Fort Greene and was supposed to drive the girl to her own home in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Instead, it is alleged that after driving away, the defendant allegedly stopped the cab on Bergen Street and removed what appeared to be a black firearm from the glove compartment, loaded silver bullets into it and told the victim: “If you say anything, these bullets are for you.”

The defendant then allegedly climbed into the backseat, threatened the child with a firearm, and punched her body. The defendant then allegedly proceeded to rape and sexually assault her. The defendant then allegedly went back into the driver’s seat and drove to a second location, on Herkimer Street, and returned to the backseat, pushed the victim down and allegedly raped her again. At approximately 8 p.m., he allegedly dropped her home, where she disclosed to her mother that she had been raped.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lana Schlesinger, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not a proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Allegedly Stabbing Police Officer in Neck, Shooting His Partner and Firing Gun at Police Officers Who Responded to Scene, Wounding a Third Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Allegedly Stabbing Police Officer in Neck, Shooting His Partner and Firing Gun at Police Officers Who Responded to Scene, Wounding a Third Officer

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Flatbush man has been indicted on attempted aggravated murder and other charges for allegedly stabbing a police officer in the neck, taking the injured officer’s gun, using it to shoot the officer’s partner in the hand and also firing it at responding police officers, wounding a third officer.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly engaged in an unprovoked and cowardly attack on an officer and his partner, then opened fire at responding officers. We are lucky that these officers were not killed. This case underscores the dangers our police officers face day in and day out. We will now seek to bring this defendant to justice for endangering their lives and the lives of those around them.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Dzenan Camovic, 21, of Flatbush, Brooklyn. He is charged with three counts of attempted aggravated murder, three counts of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and other related charges in an indictment that was filed today in Brooklyn Supreme Court. He is presently being held without bail and will be arraigned on the indictment on a later date.

The District Attorney said that on June 3, 2020, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Police Officer Yayon Frantz Jean Pierre and Police Officer Randy Ramnarine were standing on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Church Avenue when the defendant, walking south on Flatbush Avenue, walked up to Officer Jean Pierre from behind and allegedly stabbed him in the neck. He then allegedly rushed Officer Ramnarine with the knife and threw it at him.

Officer Jean Pierre allegedly fired at the defendant and then tripped. It is alleged the defendant then struggled with Officer Jean Pierre for control of his gun. After seizing the gun, the defendant is alleged to have fired at Officer Ramnarine, striking him in the hand. Additional police officers responded to the scene and the defendant also opened fire on those officers, striking one of those officers in the hand.

Two officers were shot, both in the left hand, and recovered. Officer Jean Pierre was treated for the stab wound to his neck.

The defendant was hospitalized and treated for multiple gunshot wounds and recovered.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Andy Palacio of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Cassandra Pond, of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.