Far Rockaway man pleads guilty to manslaughter in fatal shooting last year: DA

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A Far Rockaway resident admitted he fatally shot a man and wounded two others last year, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Lawayne Smalls, 19, of Beach 26th Street, pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder for gunning down 20-year-old Christopher Campbell in broad daylight on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in 2020.

According to the charges, just before 2 p.m. on Sept. 8, Smalls was on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Shore Front Parkway when he became embroiled in a verbal dispute with the victim, who was with two other people at the time. Without warning, Smalls pulled out a firearm and began firing at all three people.

Katz said at least six bullets struck Campbell throughout his body. EMS rushed Campbell to a nearby hospital where the 20-year-old died as a result of the gunshot wounds. Two others were also hit by bullets, but survived.

“The defendant, in this case, has now admitted to a senseless shooting that took the life of one man and injured two others,” Katz said. “A disagreement should never lead to bloodshed, sadly easy access to illegal firearms has resulted in far too many deaths in Queens County. We must stop the gun violence and rid our communities of these deadly, illegal weapons.”

Smalls will be sentenced on Dec. 3. Justice Holder indicated he will order the defendant to prison for 23 years, to be followed by five years post-release supervision.