BY ALEXIS RAMOS
A Kew Gardens man who accidentally shot his girlfriend more than two years ago and left her with a serious brain injury is now serving prison time.
Steven Diaz, 33, was previously convicted of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first degree criminal possession of marijuana and tampering with evidence.
According to prosecutors, Diaz accidentally discharged a 9mm handgun inside the apartment he shared with his girlfriend on 127th Street early on the morning of Feb. 9, 2014. His girlfriend was struck in the head, and he brought her by private transport to a local hospital for treatment.
Diaz’s girlfriend, now 25, suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the shooting and now resides in a nursing home; her injuries left her unable to communicate with anyone.
In trying to explain the incident to police, law enforcement agents said, Diaz claimed that he was a drug dealer and that his girlfriend had been shot as three purported masked robbers invaded their home and looked for marijuana. However, he would later admit to the shooting and claimed that he threw the gun into a sewer.
A search of the sewer where Diaz said he threw the weapon ended with negative results. Police, however, did recover more than 50 pounds of marijuana inside his apartment.
Diaz was initially tried in March of this year, but it ended in a mistrial when a juror became unable to continue while deliberations were underway. A jury convicted Diaz last month of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence.
“The lengthy prison sentence imposed by the court punishes the defendant for the crimes that he committed. Justice has been done,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement.