Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown is charging a 16-year-old high school student as an adult in the shooting death of 13-year old Kevin Miller and wounding of another youth.
Nnonso Ekwegbalu, of Springfield Gardens, was arraigned on Monday, October 5 on charges of second-degree murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, as well as tampering with physical evidence.
Queens Criminal Court Judge Toko Serita ordered the student at Humanities & the Arts Magnet High School held without bail.
Ekwegbalu faces 25 years to life in prison, if convicted.
At about 3:15 p.m. on Friday, October 2, Ekwegbalu a “had just had a physical altercation” with three persons at 208-15 Linden Boulevard, the location of a car wash and two blocks from the school, according to DA Brown.
“This case is another example of the mindless gun-related violence that too often takes innocent lives and recklessly endangers public safety,” DA Brown said.
Ekwegbalu allegedly fired a handgun at the three “who were fleeing, unarmed,” according to Brown. One of the bullets struck Miller, a freshman at the school who was on his way home and not involved, in the head.
He was transported to Long Island Jewish Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Another bullet struck an as-yet unidentified 17-year-old Hispanic youth, who worked at the car wash. He was transported to North Shore Medical Center in stable condition.
Cops and detectives from the 105th Precinct reportedly fanned out over the area immediately after the shooting, armed with a description of a tall, black youth wearing an orange sweatshirt.
On a tip from a witness, police went to the school, at 207-01 116th Avenue and into the boys’ locker room at 4 p.m., where they detained star football player Nmesoma Okafor, 16. He was released five hours later.
“They grabbed me (by the arm) and pulled me out the locker room,” Okafor said, according to published reports. “I’m thinking lifetime in prison for not doing anything,” he added.
News of the incident caused immediate outrage. A $2,000 reward was offered and officials called for action.
“The area where Kevin Miller was murdered on Friday has always been a hot-zone for trouble,” said City Councilmember Leroy Comrie.
“But despite the requests of community residents and elected officials for more enforcement, our local law enforcement have simply lacked the manpower, funding and support to meet those requests,” he continued.
“I can assure you that we’re going to pursue and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law and continue to do whatever it takes to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.
Bloomberg laid the blame for the incident on guns and “This craziness in Washington” of what he sees as loopholes in the law. “It’s against the law to sell guns to our youth and we’ve just got to do something,” he said.
Miller’s mother, Donna Greaves, 35, is bereft.
“He was an innocent bystander, in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “He’s gone and I miss him.”
The wake for Miller will be held Thursday, and the funeral will be Friday, October 9, at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church, 122-05 165th Street in Jamaica.
Ekwegbalu will return to court on Monday, October 19.