A reputed Queens gang member will serve a 4-year federal prison sentence after a shooting last summer outside Americana mall in Manhasset that didn’t cause any injuries but put the posh shopping center on lockdown for an hour on a Saturday afternoon.
U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert on Friday sentenced Yuri Oluh, 22, in a Central Islip courtroom following his November guilty plea to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
"You didn’t pull the trigger but you had the gun out," the judge said.
She called the action a "severe threat to the community" and said it was concerning because of the number of shootings happening in public places across the country.
Federal prosecutors said Oluh, a SNOW gang member, was at the Northern Boulevard shopping center with a male associate on July 25 when they encountered three men from Queens' Baisley Park Houses and got into a dispute about an ongoing "beef."
The Jamaica resident "told the three men off" and walked away after one asked Oluh where he was from, but surveillance video later showed the trio began following him, according to prosecutors.
The U.S. attorney's office said that at about 1:15 p.m., several rounds of gunfire aimed at Oluh and his associate erupted outside the mall — which features stores including Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada.
Law enforcement officials said Oluh ducked and drew a .22 magnum North American Arms revolver, which is shown in his right hand in images in court records. Authorities never arrested anyone else in the shooting.
Prosecutors said Oluh fled to a nearby Benihana restaurant, where he left his gun under a sink in the men’s restroom.
Police found the loaded gun and Oluh later admitted to having had it, according to authorities. They said a Nassau officer who responded to the call about an active shooter at the mall arrested Oluh near the restaurant.
A grand jury also had indicted Oluh on a charge of having a gun with an obliterated serial number. He had been facing 41 to 51 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James McDonald on Friday called the shooting "terrifying" and "harrowing" for everyone at the shopping center while asking for a 51-month prison sentence.
Oluh's attorney, Murray Singer, asked for a less severe sentence, pointing to his client's age, desire to reform and what he called "ungodly" conditions at the Brooklyn detention center where Oluh has been since September.
The Port Washington lawyer also argued his client "was the victim of someone firing a weapon at him," and ran away rather than firing back.
Oluh, who has three prior felony convictions, apologized in court Friday, where his mother and aunt came to support him.
"I never tried to downplay or act as if I didn’t commit the crime," he said.
Singer wrote in court papers Oluh denied being in a gang, but the attorney declined the judge's offer to hold a hearing about it.
Seybert said she believed Oluh was in a gang and noted police records suggested he was "second in command."