A Queens man charged in the December 2015 Roosevelt Field mall shooting that sent holiday shoppers fleeing for safety pleaded guilty to robbery and assault charges on Monday, and a judge said he will be sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Oliver Lee, 22, admitted before state Supreme Court Justice William Donnino in Mineola that he brought a .380-caliber handgun into Tourneau, a high-end jewelry shop, on Dec. 22, 2015, to steal a Rolex watch.
His weapon discharged during a struggle with a security guard, who Nassau Assistant District Attorney Veronica Guariglia said tried to wrestle the gun from Lee. The bullet struck a Macy’s employee, Richard Nelson, then 67, lodging in his shoulder but not seriously injuring him, Guariglia said.
The security guard, Kenneth Krug of North Baldwin, a retired NYPD detective sergeant, tried to stop Lee, and two unarmed mall security guards helped restrain him, authorities had said.
“Thanks to the quick and brave response [of] security guards this defendant was subdued without further violence,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a news release.
In Nassau County Court on Monday, Lee pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree robbery and three counts of second-degree assault. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed the remaining five charges against him.
Donnino, who approved the plea deal, promised to sentence Lee to 11 years in prison and 5 years post-release supervision, despite Guariglia’s call for a 20-year term. The maximum sentence for first-degree robbery is 5 to 25 years.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 21.
Lee’s attorney, Bruce Barket of Garden City, said a sentence of 7 to 8 years would have been more appropriate, given that one bullet was accidentally discharged and that no one died or was seriously injured. He said Lee is a young man who, up until now, had never been convicted of a crime.
“I thought 11 was tough,” Barket said after the court proceeding. “And I thought 20 was ridiculous.”