By Naeisha Rose
Shamel Capers, the second individual arrested in the shooting death of 14-year-old D’aja Robinson on a city bus in Jamaica, was convicted of the 2013 murder last week, the Queens district attorney said.
Capers, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was found guilty of second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon June 22, DA Richard Brown said.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak scheduled Capers’ sentencing for July 19, He faces up to 15 years to life in prison, according to DA Richard Brown.
On March 18, 2013, D’aja, of South Jamaica, left a friend’s birthday party around 8:30 p.m. and rather than walk six blocks home in the rain, she hopped on an idle Q6 bus located opposite 125-60 Sutphin Blvd., according to her mother, Shadia Sands.
Within minutes after D’aja sat down, Capers of Brooklyn shot several rounds into the bus, targeting an unidentified girl, prosecutors said.
Kevin McClinton, of Richmond Hill, then 21, grabbed Capers’ gun and fired more rounds into the bus hoping to get the intended mark, the DA said. Instead a stray bullet shattered the bus window and hit D’aja in the head. She was later declared dead Jamaica Hospital, according to the 113th Precinct.
The shooting was gang-related, according to Brown.
D’aja was one of four family members lost to gun violence between 2010 and 2014. In 2014, her cousin, Khalil Brown, 17, was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Khalil’s uncle, former NYPD Officer Colin Bowlin, was shot in 2011. In 2010, D’aja’s cousin, Gary Bowlin, was gunned down at a barbershop in Richmond Hill, according to family.
D’aja was an only child and a student at Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Heights. Her body was carried in a white coffin by horse-drawn carriage to St. Albans’ Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in May 2013, according to Queens’ rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who paid for the transport because it was the “stand up thing to do.”
Police recovered nine shell casings from a .40 caliber handgun at the scene and put up a $22,000 reward to find her killers.
McClinton fled to South Carolina, where he was arrested a week and a half later. In early 2016, he was convicted of murder after a three-week trial. On June 6, he was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.
Capers turned himself in on July 14, 2014.
D’aja’s death spurred the creation of New York City’s Gun Violence Crisis Management System, which provides resources for precincts plagued with gun violence.
It also resulted in former Borough President Helen Marshall allocating $50,000 in a gun buyback program from her office’s discretionary budget in June 2013.
On Aug. 3, 2016 the Sutphin Boulevard stretch of roadway between Rockaway Boulevard and 125th Street, near where Robinson was shot, was renamed after her by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose