Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two men have been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison 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 lost their lives and two young girls were robbed of their mothers when these defendants opened fire without regard for who might be harmed by their bullets. I hope today’s prison sentence makes clear that there are serious consequences for those who devastate families and terrorize our communities with senseless acts of gun violence.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Nazir Saunders, 22, of Harlem and Anthony Alexander, 19, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. They were each sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte to 50 years to life in prison. The defendants were each convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on May 20, 2019, following a jury trial.
The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, 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.