Jurors convicted a Queens Village man who shot and killed a Ridgewood teenager during an apparent drug deal gone bad in South Ozone Park nearly three years ago, prosecutors announced.
According to law enforcement sources, Jairam C. Ali Suarez, 26, of 214th Street approached a vehicle parked in front of a home on 130th Street near Old South Road early on the morning of Jan. 6, 2015. John Pichardo, 19, of Brooklyn sat in the driver’s seat, while a 21-year-old man, also from Ridgewood, was in the rear of the vehicle.
Prosecutors said Suarez opened the back door and entered the vehicle, intending to steal a pound of marijuana that he previously arranged to buy from the two men. He pulled out a firearm and shot Aponte in the upper right leg, then turned the gun on Pichardo and opened fire, shooting him in the head. Suarez then fled the scene in an unknown direction.
Officers from the 106th Precinct and EMS units responded to the incident. Pichardo was pronounced dead at the scene, while the 19-year-old man was treated at a local hospital.
After a 3 1/2 week trial, jurors convicted Suarez of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He must return to court for sentencing on Nov. 9 and faces up to 50 years to life behind bars, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
“In rendering its verdict, the jury found the defendant guilt of committing a cold and calculating act,” Brown said in an Oct. 12 statement. “The actions of the defendant warrants imposition of a lengthy prison sentence to punish him and protect society.”