Cops arrest teens in shooting of Douglaston man

Police had marked off a section of the parking lot behind Hanyang Mart in Murray Hill the day after a double shooting there left a Douglaston man dead. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Connor Adams Sheets

Two teens were arrested Friday on charges of killing a Douglaston man and sending another to the hospital during a drug deal gone bad in a Murray Hill parking lot last week, police said.

The 16-year-old suspects from Little Neck and Flushing were picked up shortly after witnesses called 911 to report the gunfire, which took place in a car in the lot behind Hanyang Mart, at 150-51 Northern Blvd., at about 10:52 p.m. March 16, a police source said.

Bernard Cho, 28, who lived at 244th Street in Douglaston, was shot in the torso and taken to Flushing Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police. The second victim, a 30-year-old male, was also shot in the torso and sent to New York Hospital Queens for treatment, where he was in stable condition last Thursday afternoon, according to police.

Caleb Ahn, of 256th Street in Little Neck, and Karma Sonam, of 45th Street in Flushing, were charged by police Friday with several criminal counts, including second-degree murder, attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

The incident took place after a marijuana deal turned ugly, police said. An 18-year-old Queens man who called the TimesLedger to say he was a friend of Ahn correctly identified Sonam before the police released his name. The caller, who did not identify himself, said he believed that the deal involved 10 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $50,000.

He said Ahn and Sonam, who went by the nickname “Shank,” were supposed to receive the drugs without paying the two shooting victims, whom he maintained were the dealers.

He said Ahn and Sonam were then going to sell the marijuana and return a portion of the money to the dealers, but during the course of the deal the shooting broke out.

He contended that Sonam was the lone shooter, but police would not confirm that, saying only that both teens were facing the same charges in connection with the shootings.

Video surveillance tape showed a man witnesses believed to be the shooter running from the parking lot and through the store shortly after the shooting took place. Police said they did not believe the man in that video was the shooter. But police added that they had surveillance video from the parking lot that showed two men getting into a vehicle and carrying out the shooting. Police also said that at least two different types of firearms were used in the incident.

No guns had been found during the investigation of the shootings, police said Tuesday.

Police did not say whether there might be other suspects on the loose, but a witness indicated that there were about five people present during the altercation.

A worker at Hanyang, who identified himself only as Jo, was working on the roof of the shop last Thursday morning. He said he saw police investigating the crime scene and pointed out a car wrapped in police tape and a section of the lot, including an open dumpster, that was roped off in police tape and being guarded by a policeman in a cruiser.

“Blood on the floors, blood on the walls in the entrance to the supermarket. I had to clean it up. I guess it’s a feud over money,” Jo said. “I came to work. I had to clean up the blood. There’s one person dead and the person who got injured ran into the store.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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