Far Rockaway man gets 25 years to life in prison for fatal shooting of neighbor in August 2020: DA

Far Rockaway’s Tyrell Dennis was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for shooting a neighbor to death at this apartment on Dix Avenue in the summer of 2020.
Photo courtesy of the DA’s office

A Far Rockaway man was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison in Queens Supreme Court on Monday for gunning down a neighbor at point-blank range in August 2020.

Tyrell Dennis, 34, of Redfern Avenue, was convicted of murder and other crimes in June for the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Eric Thomas at his apartment building in Far Rockaway.

According to the charges and trial testimony, video surveillance showed that on the morning of Aug. 1, 2020, Dennis entered the apartment building at 22-27 Dix Ave. near Pinson Street just before 6:30 a.m., where he approached a woman in the mailroom and pointed a gun to her head.

He pushed her through a doorway and questioned her about the location of certain individuals. Dennis proceeded to the first floor of the building where Thomas lived.

A short time later, a man exited Thomas’ apartment leaving the front door open. Thomas was about to leave the apartment when Dennis approached him, pulled a handgun from his waistband, pointed it at Thomas and shot him once in the chest before running from the crime scene.

EMS responded and rushed Thomas to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway where he was pronounced dead.

Dennis was a fugitive for nearly four months before he was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and a host of other crimes in Franklin County, Penn. on Nov. 28, 2020. He was extradited back to Queens to answer to the murder charge.

“Senseless gun violence has tragically cut short too many lives including that of this victim,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “The defendant is being held accountable for his brutal actions and we will not let up in our efforts to remove illegal weapons from our streets.”

In addition to murder in the second degree, Dennis was also convicted of two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and menacing. Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise sentenced Dennis to 25 years to life in prison.