STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The 25-year-old man charged in what authorities have deemed an unprovoked, fatal shooting Sunday aboard the Q train was remanded without bail at the request of prosecutors Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court.
On Tuesday, police arrested Andrew Abdullah in connection with the alarming ordeal, on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The victim, 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez, was a Brooklyn resident who worked as a researcher for Goldman Sachs.
Moments prior to the shooting, the gunman was “pacing back and forth inside the train car muttering to himself,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said during a press briefing Tuesday.
“The only distinguishable words heard were, ‘no phones,’” Essig said. “The male suddenly and without any prior interactions or provocation walked up to our victim… and shot him one time in the chest.”
Abdullah “targeted this poor individual for reasons we don’t know,” he said.
An NYPD spokesman reportedly confirmed that on the day of the shooting cops had stopped Abdullah as he fled the station but let him go because he had changed his appearance and did not fit the description of the shooter. Police allege the perpetrator handed a homeless man the gun.
“The [homeless man] was apprehended and interviewed. He stated he does not know who the perpetrator is, and [the perpetrator] just randomly handed him the gun,” Essig said.
Abdullah was on parole until last June after serving 2 1/2 years behind bars on a conviction for conspiracy and attempted weapon possession charges in a gang case, 4 New York reported. Court records indicate he also has open criminal cases stemming from an April 24 vehicle theft and an alleged assault in 2020. He reportedly hasn’t entered a plea in either of those cases.
FLASHY NYC BISHOP CLAIMS MAN’S INNOCENCE
Prior to Abdullah’s arrest, a flashy New York City clergyman, Bishop Lamar Whitehead, showed up at the 5th Precinct stationhouse in Manhattan in a Rolls Royce in a bid to negotiate Abdullah’s surrender. But the suspect instead was detained by police at the Legal Aid Society offices in Manhattan while talks with Bishop Whitehead and lawyers were happening, according to reports.
Bishop Whitehead told reporters outside the stationhouse that Abdullah is “innocent,” citing “untold paperwork showing that he has mental health issues.”
“As he states, he doesn’t remember anything,” the preacher said.
Bishop Whitehead has a criminal record himself. He was released from prison in 2013 after serving a five-year bid for identity fraud and grand larceny. On Tuesday, he told reporters he had reached out to Mayor Eric Adam’s office trying to negotiate a peaceful surrender before police arrested Abdullah, the New York Post reported.
LEGAL AID ARGUES WRONGDOING BY POLICE
Abdullah is being represented by the Legal Aid Society, which released a statement Tuesday accusing law enforcement of denying him an opportunity “to first consult with counsel.”
“Before Andrew Abdullah could voluntarily surrender himself to the local precinct, he was needlessly ambushed out front of our Manhattan Trial Office by law enforcement, denied of his opportunity to first consult with counsel,” a spokesman for the organization said. “Since last night, we have been actively speaking with the New York Police Department and the New York County District Attorney’s Office to negotiate his surrender, and what transpired today was completely inappropriate and unwarranted given those conversations.”
“We have been assigned to represent Mr. Abdullah on this case. He is presumed innocent and entitled to counsel and a robust defense,” the statement continued. “At this preliminary moment in the case, we caution New Yorkers from rushing to judgment, as we are just beginning our investigation and reviewing evidence. Mr. Abdullah deserves vigorous representation from his defense counsel and that is what the Legal Aid Society will provide.”