Police have arrested suspects in two deadly shootings. In the first, police arrested Michael Soto in connection to the death of Thomas Marrinan in Kensington. In the second, police arrested Jovan Young in the death of Justin Wallace in Queens.
Soto, 33, was arrested and charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and assault for the physical altercation that led to the death of Marrinan, 57, a retired police officer on Monday.
Marrinan was with a friend of his, Robert Velasquez, when they attempted to intervene when an intoxicated Soto began acting aggressively towards an elderly customer at a pizza shop on East 3rd Street and Church Avenue. Soto turned on the two men, and in the scuffle Velasquez fired his gun, shooting both Marrinan and Soto. Marrinan, who was hit in the chest, was rushed to the hospital but passed away soon after. Videos later showed solemn police officers saluting the ambulance carrying Marrinan, who is survived by his wife and their teenage son.
“Even after he retired, he continued to protect his fellow New Yorkers. Rest in peace, Tommy,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea wrote in a tribute on Twitter.
In the second arrest, Young, 29, was charged with murder and two charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the death of Justine Wallace, a random crime that shocked the city.
“My thanks to the @NYPDDetectives & everyone who worked around the clock on this investigation — tirelessly seeking justice for an innocent 10-year-old boy,” Shea tweeted regarding the arrest.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “If you shoot and kill in New York City, you will be caught. You will be arrested. You will be held accountable.”
Wallace, a fifth grader, had been playing at the Far Rockaway home of a cousin after a day at the beach with his classmates when he was shot. His grieving family told the press that the 10 year-old was a victim of a local dispute over a parking spot. Pictures showed a smiling boy in glasses and colorful sneakers, who was described was a friendly, smart child who loved animals and helped classmates with math.
De Blasio condemned the violence on Monday and urged the state legislature to pass parole reform, saying that too many violent crimes are committed by people recently released from jail.
“It was horrible. A ten-year-old child who should be alive today, should be in school right now, killed by a cowardly, horrible human being who fired gunshots just randomly into a home,” de Blasio said at his press conference. “The pain that Justin’s parents are feeling right now, no parent should ever go through that. No one should ever experience that.”
De Blasio praised a parole system bill introduced in the legislature by Assembly Member Maritza Davila, which involves a multipronged plan of housing, mental health support and reentry programming to help ease parolees back into society.
“The sad reality is that the state government dumps state prisoners and parolees into New York City, often directly into our shelters, in a way that doesn’t help anyone, and the facts are clear,” he said. “State parolees are more likely to be shooting suspects than they have been in the past. They are four times more likely to be involved in gun violence than others who have been involved in the criminal justice system.”
“We see a specific problem and we can do something about it and we can do something about it in a way that is understanding and compassionate, but also forceful re-entry planning, discharge, planning, housing, health support, including mental health support, making sure people have some employment,” the mayor continued. “These are things that would make a huge difference and help keep us safe.”