Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life for Fatally Shooting His Close Friend

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life for
Fatally Shooting His Close Friend

Fired at Victim Six Times, Thinking He’s Romantically Involved With Defendant’s Sister

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 25-year-old Coney Island man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting his good friend in 2013 because he believed the victim was romantically involved with his sister.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant senselessly took the life of a close friend.  He will now have many years in a prison cell to reckon with the terribly poor choice that he made.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Johnny Velez-Garriga, 25, of 2925 West 27th Street in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to the maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog following his conviction on June 18, 2015 on one count of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on December 26, 2013 at approximately 9:30 p.m., the defendant shot Shawn White, 25, six times inside of 2925 West 27th Street, killing him.

Velez-Garriga, who was a friend of the victim for years, came to believe that White was having a romantic relationship with the defendant’s sister, having seen him being let into an apartment the defendant shared with his sister late the night before. On the day of the homicide, he encountered his sister and the victim in the defendant’s building.  White tried to tell the defendant that he would never disrespect him, but the defendant walked off to his apartment. According to testimony by his sister, Velez-Garriga then emerged from his apartment with a firearm, yelled at her, “You violated me” and opened fire at the victim, who tried to run away.

District Attorney Thompson said that White was found on fourth-floor stairway with mortal gunshot wounds to his torso, leg and buttocks. A jury returned a guilty verdict in less than an hour.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Chief.