A Staten Island man has been charged in the fatal shooting of one of his accomplices, police said, in what they allege was a botched robbery of a drug dealer in an Old Bethpage park.
Brandon P. Torres, 22, was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, all felonies, in the Saturday night killing of Stefon Pierre, 22, of Queens.
Torres, who was arrested Monday, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Tuesday morning in Hempstead. Torres pleaded not guilty. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
Nassau Police Homicide Det. Stephen Fitzpatrick said Torres and four co-conspirators, including the victim, arranged to buy marijuana from a dealer through the social media application Snapchat.
Torres and Pierre met for the first time that night and, along with three other suspects, drove to Haypath Road Park to rob the dealer, Fitzpatrick said.
"On their way there, they conspired and planned how they were going to rob him," said Fitzpatrick, speaking at a news briefing at police headquarters in Mineola. "They all were aware that Brandon Torres was carrying a .380 caliber handgun. They suspected that [the dealer] had help, friends beyond himself, so they went armed."
At about 11 p.m., Torres, the alleged shooter, and another suspect approached the dealer and robbed him at gunpoint of one pound of marijuana, his car keys and cellphone, Fitzpatrick said.
Pierre, along with another man, was tasked as the "secondary backup team to make sure no one came out of the woods and interrupted," Fitzpatrick said.
Pierre approached as the robbery was taking place and was shot in the stomach, Fitzpatrick said.
"Brandon, feeling that he was a threat and a member of [the dealer's] team of marijuana dealers, turned and shot him and killed him," Fitzpatrick said. "He had just met him that night. It was dark, he came up very fast on him. He turned and shot him."
Pierre was driven to the hospital "by his co-conspirators," Fitzpatrick said, but died at Plainview Hospital at 5:37 a.m. Sunday.
Police have arrested the other alleged co-conspirators. Kion Carter, 25, of Church Lane, Middle Island, was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; and Charles Spinella, 17, of Boxwood Drive, Kings Park and Patricia Quilliam, 19, of Fenwick Street, Greenlawn were both charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
The alleged drug dealer, Dimitri Filacouris, 21, of Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana.
Several members of Pierre's family, who attended the arraignment, said outside court that Stefon Pierre was unaware of the impending robbery and was simply "at the wrong place at the wrong time."
Zion Pierre, 18, of Huntington, said his brother was just like any other young guy who "loved to party and loved his family."