Police: Murder victims may have witnessed murder

October 4, 2010 4:00:11 PM PDT
Homicide detectives are looking into whether two men gunned down early Monday were targeted because they were potential witnesses to murders.

"I heard 2 sets of shots. One that went boom, boom and then boom, boom, boom and about 10 seconds later I heard a car pull out with its wheels screeching," Glen Steigel said.

That description from an area resident is almost exactly what police say happened along East 19th Street in the pre-dawn hours on Monday.

Two men sitting in a silver SUV were shot and killed execution-style.

"We saw a Mercury SUV and it had several gunshots thru the front window. There were two through the driver side window and one over the passenger side," Mike Buttermark said.

The NYPD said both of the victims were potential witnesses in a pair of murders in Coney Island, but investigators had not yet questioned them.

"We believe they were both witnesses to separate homicides. One of them may have been shot at earlier in the week or last couple of weeks," Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Further evidence that this shooting was not random, police say, is video from a nearby security camera that captured at least a portion of the deadly encounter.

"What we see is a dark colored sedan pulls up behind the car at about 3:27. Two individuals get out, walk up to the SUV and - we don't have video of actual shooting that takes place. They run back into the car and they take off," Kelly said.

The victims were identified as 26-year-old Rashawn Washington and 22-year-old Terrance Serrano, both of Coney Island.

They have a combined 17 prior arrests for robbery, burglary, drugs and weapons possession, police said.