Nassau jury completes first day of deliberations in case of alleged Stop & Shop shooter Gabriel Wilson
Accused Stop & Shop gunman Gabriel Wilson intended to kill grocery manager Ray Wishropp and four other co-workers when he opened fire at the West Hempstead store with a .380 semiautomatic handgun, a Nassau County prosecutor said Tuesday during closing arguments in the former cart collector’s second-degree murder trial.
Assistant District Attorney Jared Rosenblatt told the jury — which completed its first day of deliberations Tuesday afternoon — that the testimony of 20 witnesses, surveillance video, text messages and other evidence presented at the trial proved that Wilson came to the store on the morning of April 20, 2021, intending to fatally shoot grocery manager Ray Wishropp and four other co-workers.
“His intention was clear,” Rosenblatt said. “His intention was to kill.”
Wilson, 33, has been on trial since April 24 in Nassau County Criminal Court for one count of second-degree murder, four counts of second-degree attempted murder and other charges. The former Stop & Shop cart collector pleaded not guilty in June 2021 to a nine-count indictment.
WHAT TO KNOW
- Accused Stop & Shop gunman Gabriel Wilson intended to kill grocery manager Ray Wishopp and four others when he opened fire in the West Hempstead store, prosecutors told the jury in closing arguments Tuesday.
- Defense attorney Brian Carmody contended in his closing argument that the former cart collector did not intend to kill when he opened fire.
- The jury deliberated for three and a half-hours Tuesday afternoon before Acting Supreme Court Justice Helene Gugerty dismissed them for the day.
Acting Supreme Court Justice Helen Gugerty dismissed the jury shortly before 5 p.m. after jurors sent her a note saying they had not finished their deliberations. The jury will resume considering the case Wednesday morning.
Earlier in the afternoon, the jury asked Gugerty to read back the law related to two criminal possession of a weapon charges included in the indictment. The jury also requested a readback of testimony from victims Cathy Moran, Ana Meehan and Olivia Leary. The Leary testimony will be read back on Wednesday because the request came late in the day.
Rosenblatt and Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Palma said during the trial that Wilson had come to work on the morning of April 20, 2021, to speak to store manager Aram Dikici about a transfer to a Hempstead store closer to his home.
Wilson left the store but returned later that morning, went to an office on the store’s second floor. He opened fire on Dikici and perishables manager Olivia Leary, severely injuring both. It was Leary’s second day on the job at the West Hempstead store.
Wilson then immediately went to a file room, where he fatally shot Wishropp, the prosecutors said. Stop & Shop employees Moran and Meehan were also in the room, although they were not injured. The only reason why more people weren’t killed, Rosenblatt said, was because Wilson ran out of bullets.
Wilson’s attorney, Brian Carmody, acknowledged in his summation — as he did in his opening arguments — that his client fired the shots that injured Leary and Dikici and, killed the 49-year-old Wishropp, a father of seven.
Wilson, Carmody contended, intended to hurt Dikici — but not kill him — because the two had a tense confrontation when the defendant has asked for the transfer. Leary, Carmody said, was injured by a bullet intended for Dikici. Wilson shot Wishropp because he feared Wishropp was going to prevent him from leaving the store.
“Gabriel thought Ray was coming after him,” Carmody said, arguing that the second-degree murder and attempted murder charges were inappropriate.
Rosenblatt told the jury that text messages Wilson sent to an unidentified person also proved that the defendant meant to kill. The first text, sent before the earlier meeting at the store, said “Yo, today is the day.” The second, sent after the shootings, said, “Need more.”
Rosenblatt said the first text suggested that Wilson had decided to go on a murderous rampage that day. The second, he said, meant that Wilson had run out of ammunition.
Carmody pushed back on that contention, telling the jury that April 20 is an unofficial holiday for cannabis users and that Wilson may have been indicating in his second text that he had run out of marijuana. TO HERE/RT
Carmody also told the jury that there is no evidence that Wilson — who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being shot in the head at age 19 — planned to kill his co-workers.
Rosenblatt later said Wilson only had to intend to kill Wishropp and the others when he pulled the trigger. While explaining the charges, Gugerty also said that prosecutors did not have to prove that Wilson had planned the attack, and that he intended to kill when he opened fire.
More than two dozen of Wishropp’s family members and friends attended Tuesday’s closing arguments. Some have attended every day of the trial.
“I believe in the justice system,” said Rupert Wishropp, the victim’s father. “We will get justice.”
Gugerty on Monday denied a request from Carmody to give the jury the option of convicting Wilson of the lesser crimes of first or second-degree manslaughter, rather than second-degree murder, for the death of Wishropp.
If convicted, Wilson could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.