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Long IslandSuffolk

N. Amityville man arraigned in fatal shooting

A dispute over money led a North Amityville man to shoot a Wheatley Heights man to death last month, a Suffolk prosecutor said Monday at the alleged shooter's arraignment.

Through his attorney, Shiroide Sims, 26, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and weapons charges in Suffolk County Court. He was ordered held without bail by County Court Judge Stephen Braslow.

If convicted of murder, Sims faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Sims is accused of fatally shooting Ronnie Woolridge, 25, of Wheatley Heights, shortly after noon on Nov. 20 on Andpress Plaza in North Amityville.

Woolridge's mother sobbed in court during Sims' arraignment.

Outside court, she broke down in tears as she entered an elevator with her husband and a family friend.

"My baby," Woolridge's mother cried. "He killed my baby."

She and the others declined to speak to reporters.

In court, Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl said Sims shot Woolridge once in the neck during a dispute over money. Pearl told reporters outside court that he did not know how much money was in dispute.

Pearl said in court there were "numerous eyewitnesses" to the shooting and the shooting was captured by a surveillance camera.

Sims fled after the shooting and was captured four days later in Hempstead, Pearl said. Federal marshals helped Suffolk authorities in the search, Pearl said.

Sims' attorney, Craig McElwee of North Babylon, did not dispute that Sims had fled, but said he had fled to Freeport. Sims left North Amityville because he feared for his safety after the shooting, the attorney said. "He was fleeing for his safety and the safety of his family," McElwee said in court. Sims previously had been convicted of drug possession, Pearl said in court.

Sims is due back in court on Jan. 18.

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