NEW YORK — A 21-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder in the first degree and other crimes for allegedly firing at cops who sat in a patrol car in Far Rockaway Sunday night. The officers heard the shots just before the marked vehicle was jolted by bullets that ripped into the side and rear panel of the car.
District Attorney Melinda Katz said, “Thankfully neither of these officers was struck by the bullets that were fired at them. While we are living through very tumultuous times with demonstrators clashing with police in the streets, this incident was not a protest. This was a targeted attack on our law enforcement as they watched over a neighborhood on a quiet night in Queens. This vile act of gun violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The defendant has been apprehended and will be prosecuted.”
The District Attorney’s Office identified the defendant as Kane Motta, 21, who is known to reside on Elizabeth Avenue in the Arverne section of Queens, as well as on Ayers Road in Sandyston, New Jersey. The defendant was arraigned last night before Queens Criminal Court Judge Mary Berjarano on a complaint charging him with multiple counts of attempted murder in the first degree, attempted assault in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and assault in the second degree. Judge Berjarano remanded Motta and set his return date for July 2, 2020. If
convicted, the defendant faces between 20 years to life and a maximum of 40 years to life in prison.
District Attorney Katz said that, according to the charges, shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2020, Police Officers Fawad Khan and Mark Beneducci sat in a marked patrol car in front of 531 Beach 66th Street in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. The patrol car was parked and with its lights flashing when both Officers heard a loud popping sound and felt the vehicle rock suddenly.
When they exited the car, the vehicle had bullet holes on the driver’s side at the rear of the car’s storage area and the tailgate. Continuing, the DA said, according to the charges video surveillance of the area showed Motta – who lives just an 8 minute walk from where the police car was parked – in the vicinity at 11:27 p.m. The defendant is allegedly observed on the recording climbing over a fence on Beach 66th Street to get into a backyard where he hid a gun in the wheel well of a parked car at the rear of the driveway.
Moments later, according to the charges, said District Attorney Katz, the defendant is observed on the same recording wandering in the area, then allegedly retrieving the firearm from the parked car’s wheel well, walk down the driveway, then back toward a lot next door where there is a clear sightline to the parked police car. Gunfire erupts and the defendant runs from away from the scene immediately afterwards. Police later recovered gun cases from the lot.
The police officers both sustained ringing in their ears and some hearing loss as a result of the shooting.
The investigation was conducted by Detective John Curran, with the assistance of Detective Joseph Zvonik, of the New York City Police Department’s 100th Precinct Detective Squad, under the supervision of Sergeant George Duffy.