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Queens DA says man shot friend while drinking in Jax Hts

Photo by Ellis Kaplan
By Christina Santucci

JACKSON HEIGHTS — A Jackson Heights man has been charged with shooting his friend during a night of drinking, but he told authorities that he allegedly hid the gun after his buddy accidentally shot himself, the Queens DA said.

According to court documents, 28-year-old Noel Morell allegedly told police he had grabbed the 9mm Beretta pistol and shell casing, ran outside and threw it in the trash because he did not want his pal, Carlos Johnson, to get into trouble.

Morell has been charged with assault, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon, according to the criminal complaint.

According to the DA, police were called to an apartment near the corner of 80th Street and Northern Boulevard at about 7 a.m. Sunday and found Johnson on the living room floor with a gunshot wound to his neck.

As a police officer applied pressure to his wound, Johnson allegedly told her that “his friend” had shot him, according to a complaint provided by the Queens DA.

After Johnson was taken to the hospital, another officer spotted Morell standing in front of the building with blood on his hands, the court document said. Neighbors said Morell had been calling for help and waiting for police to arrive.

Cops then recovered the 9mm and shell casing from the trash outside the apartment building, according to the complaint and neighbors.

Morell allegedly told police that Johnson had invited him and another man over to drink Saturday night, and at one point during the evening, while Morell went to buy beer Johnson and the other man allegedly went to buy cocaine, according to the complaint.

Morell claimed Johnson had been playing with his gun before pointing at himself when it went off, the document said.

Neighbors said they had seen the pair together Saturday evening, and one said he had peeked inside the apartment where the shooting occurred. He said on the table had been four or five Heinekens and the wall had been covered with blood.

According to the complaint, Johnson had been listed in critical but stable condition and would not walk again.

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