A long-festering dispute between two Brooklyn men over an old crime sparked a deadly shooting Monday night that killed two people and wounded four others at a wake, police said Tuesday.
Police are looking for at least two men who are believed to have fired numerous times into a crowd attending a wake at the Emmanuel Church of God, 1365 Flatbush Ave. in Flatbush, at 8:15 p.m. Police found 28 shell casings scattered around the crime scene.
Dead were Sharieff Clayton, 40, of Baychester, the Bronx, and Ronald Murphy, 44, of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. Clayton and Murphy died at Kings County Hospital Center, according to police. Also wounded was a 40-year-old man hit by gunfire in his left hand; two women, including Murphy's wife, 38, and a 29-year-old were wounded in their left legs, according to police. All three wounded were listed Tuesday in stable condition.
A 40-year-old man, who police believe was involved in the initial altercation, was found on East 32nd Street, not far from the church, with a gunshot wound in his stomach. He was taken to Kings County, where he was listed in stable condition.
Investigators initially believed that the shooting was sparked by gang rivalry because the man being waked, Jose Luis Robles, 38, may have had some affiliation with the Bloods street gang. Robles, who had spent some time in prison, died of natural causes, officials said.
But, according to police, the gunfire stemmed from a dispute Clayton had with another 40-year-old man, who was at the wake, about a crime from the 1990s, said a top police official. During the argument, Clayton told his girlfriend to leave because he expected trouble, and then he punched the 40-year-old man, whom police didn't identify, in the face. The assaulted 40-year-old man left, then returned in a car with two other men. Shots were fired from the car into the crowd at the wake and someone at the church fired back at the car, according to police.
Late Tuesday, detectives were canvassing the area. Surveillance tapes have not produced any useful evidence, the police official said.
The bloodshed distressed Democratic City Councilman Jumaane Williams, of Brooklyn, an anti-gun advocate.
"Some of it is just numbing," Williams said Tuesday at City Hall. "The shooting happened between at least three churches, a Freemason lodge, places that should be of higher consciousness. You shouldn't go to a funeral and birth other funerals."