One of the Stop & Shop workers wounded in a deadly shooting at the West Hempstead store last year identified Gabriel Wilson as her assailant hours before police arrested the cart attendant in an intensive manhunt, according to a detective's testimony Monday.
“I asked her ‘What happened? Who shot you?’ And she responded ‘Gabe Wilson,’ ” Nassau County police Det. Dakota Clark said that victim told him from an ambulance.
He said she also called Wilson "the shopping cart guy.”
The testimony was part of a pretrial hearing in the case against Wilson, 32, of Hempstead, who appeared in Nassau County Court with a new close-cut hairstyle that shows a large head scar from a past surgery.
A grand jury previously indicted Wilson on murder, attempted murder, assault and weapon charges after his arrest in the April 20, 2021, mass shooting at the Stop & Shop on Cherry Valley Avenue. He pleaded not guilty.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Helene Gugerty ruled at the hearing’s conclusion Monday that police had probable cause to arrest Wilson and that statements he made then were voluntary.
The judge also denied a defense motion to suppress the seizure of a hat and sunglasses that police recovered later at the arrest scene — items prosecutor Jared Rosenblatt said fell off Wilson during his apprehension.
Store manager Ray Wishropp died in the shooting in which authorities have alleged Wilson used a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun to fire upon five co-workers, also wounding a 26-year-old Bay Shore woman and a 50-year-old Bethpage man.
Wishropp, 49, of Valley Stream, had worked for the supermarket chain for about three decades and was the father of seven and a new grandfather.
Wilson’s attorney, Brian Carmody, previously indicated he is planning to argue his client was experiencing an extreme emotional disturbance during the shooting after store management failed to act on a request from Wilson for a job transfer.
He has said Wilson lost more than a third of his brain after being shot in the head at 19, is “slow” — with an I.Q. of 61 — and suffers from epilepsy. The theory, under the psychiatric defense, will be that Wilson's traumatic brain injury figured into his violent reaction, Carmody has said.
By law, Wilson would be guilty of manslaughter and not the higher charge of murder if an extreme emotional disturbance defense was successful. The defense would have to prove Wilson snapped and experienced a profound loss of self-control at the time of the shooting.
A psychiatrist for the prosecution is expected to examine Wilson soon, according to Monday’s court proceeding.
Police arrested Wilson hours after the shooting at about 11:19 a.m. after authorities zeroed in on him in an apartment building at 100 Terrace Ave. in Hempstead using surveillance video and tips after publicly naming him as a person of interest.
Hempstead police Det. Dionne DeGourville testified Monday that she was one of the detectives who confronted Wilson in a first-floor hallway of the apartment building at about 2:50 p.m.
She said law enforcement officials tracked him to the location and monitored a video feed that later showed he was on the move in the building.
DeGourville, who is assigned to an FBI gang task force, said she spotted Wilson about 10 feet away and told him to keep his hands up and get on the ground.
He got on his knees and put his middle fingers up, according to her testimony. She said he lowered his hands at one point, but then obeyed commands to put them back up.
The detective also testified that Wilson shouted expletives before exclaiming: “If you’re gonna shoot me, shoot me!"
Wilson then started speaking a language she thought might be Arabic, breaking into a “chant” that included mention of “Allah,” according to DeGourville.
She said she retreated as members of Nassau County Police Department's Bureau of Special Operations who were behind her “in full gear” moved in to arrest Wilson.
Carmody, who previously said his client is a Muslim and prays in Arabic, declined to comment after Monday’s hearing — as did prosecutors.
Former Hempstead resident Monica Sarduy, a friend of Wilson’s mother and a nondenominational minister, said after hearing Monday’s testimony that she had been “completely shocked” by his arrest.
Sarduy, 55, of Virginia, said Wilson had been friends with her daughter and was a respectful young man while growing up in Hempstead.
“I’ve just been praying that everything works out,” she added.