Alleged shooter in unprovoked NYC subway murder appears in court

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Wednesday, June 15, 2022
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The man accused of killing a fellow passenger in a seemingly random shooting on a Q train made another court appearance Wednesday.

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The man accused of killing a fellow passenger in a seemingly random shooting on a Q train appeared in court again Wednesday.

The alleged gunman, 25-year-old Andrew Abdullah, remains behind bars without bail following his arraignment on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez.

He pleaded not guilty.

Abdullah allegedly shot Enriquez in the chest as the train traveled from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

"Daniel Enriquez's vibrant life was brutally cut short in a flash of violence that shocked our city," District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. "My heart goes out to Mr. Enriquez's loved ones as they continue to mourn the death of a cherished son, brother, partner, and so much more. I want to assure them - and all New Yorkers - that we will stop at nothing to ensure accountability for this terrible crime, and to make sure our subways are safe for all."

Enriquez, who worked for the global investment research division at Goldman Sachs and lived in Brooklyn, was on his way to have brunch with a friend.

RELATED | Friends, family gather to remember man killed in subway shooting

Witnesses told police the shooting appeared to be unprovoked and that Abdullah was pacing back and forth in the last car of the train before opening fire.

Prosecutor Nicole Blumberg described Abdullah as a man with an extensive criminal history and said that after the shooting, he told the other passengers to put their cell phones away.

Abdullah's attorney, Kristin Braun, of Legal Aid Society, complained that the prosecution has not turned over evidence in the case, as required under law, and openly questioned whether police had arrested the wrong man.

"They are telling us that the person who committed this crime was a Black man with a beard," she said. "But there are a lot of Black men with beards, including some of you, who I'm looking at right now."

Police said that after the shooting, Abdullah handed the gun to a homeless man as he fled the Canal Street station. The homeless man, in turn, sold the gun for $10 to a third person, who reported it to police.

Abdullah was later arrested and so was the panhandler. But on Tuesday morning, that man -- Jabar Blanding -- was spotted in the same station. An MTA worker shot a picture of Blanding, obtained by Eyewitness News.

"The same guy who received the gun from the killer of Daniel Enriquez a few short weeks ago was at his same post committing fare evasion scams in the Canal Street station," MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said. "Our team saw him doing this to riders, scamming New Yorkers, and reported it."

Despite his arrest for gun possession, Blanding had been released by a judge without bail. He was rearrested for skipping his first court appearance.

Richard Aborn, of the Citizens Crime Commission, says setting bail should be mandatory for anyone arrested with a weapon.

"We're not holding people on guns, it's crazy," he said. "The fact that somebody can be arrested for possessing an illegal gun and not be eligible for bail is absurd. The city is absolutely inundated with the illegal guns. We know that when people fear apprehension, fear prosecution, and fear incarceration many people are deterred, including gun carriers."

Abdullah arranged his surrender with a Brooklyn based pastor, who visited the Fifth Precinct and worked out the details.

The motive for the subway shooting remains unknown.

Abdullah has prior arrests for assault, robbery, menacing and grand larceny, in addition to three cases that are still pending.

Police say he was arrested on April 22 for allegedly being in possession of a stolen motorcycle, and that while the Brooklyn district attorney asked for $15,000 bail, the judge set a nominal bail of $1.

RELATED | Alleged shooter in unprovoked subway murder arraigned, ordered held without bail

Abdullah also has a pending case stemming from June 2, 2021, for criminal contempt for violating a domestic order of protection, and the third pending case stems from March 24, 2021, when he was arrested for assault.

Abdullah was convicted of second-degree attempted murder in 2017 as part of an 83-count federal indictment charging members of the Harlem street gangs Fast Money and Nine Block.

He was sentenced to three years in federal prison and was released in 2019.

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