A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.
Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
The incident occurred at the northeast corner of the Queensbridge Houses at around 11:20 a.m. on July 25, 2020, when Rosa was walking his dog along 40th Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets, according to the charges. Ford, and his fellow gang member Delante Aiken, fired several shots at a rival gang member but missed the target and struck Rosa instead. EMS rushed the victim to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he died from the gunshot wound 31 days later.
Ford was originally arrested on Aug. 25, 2020, following another shooting in which he was accused of firing a handgun near 40th Avenue and 10th Street at the northern end of the Queensbridge Houses. No one was believed to have been injured in that shooting incident. Ford was re-arrested in August 2021, along with Aiken and 26 other reputed gang members indicted on conspiracy, murder, weapons possession, and other charges, for 20 acts of “gang warfare” crimes committed in and around Astoria and Long Island City, including the fatal shooting of Rosa. Seven other people were shot during the reign of terror, but they recovered from their injuries, according to the DA’s office.
“The entire city grieved the senseless death of beloved social studies teacher George Rosa, who was simply walking his dog,” Katz said. “It’s precisely to prevent tragedies such as this that we fight so hard to get illegal guns and the criminals who use them off our streets. We will not surrender our streets to reckless violence and illegal guns.”
Justice Holder sentenced Ford to 19 years in prison to be followed by five years of post-release supervision.