Police make arrest in '07 murder

July 24, 2008 4:05:15 PM PDT
Police on Long Island say they've solved the mysterious murder of a teenager.Nineteen-year-old Kareem Sapp was shot and killed last December next to his car in Uniondale. Now, a teacher's aide is charged with Sapp's murder.

The victim's parents say their son knew the 22-year-old suspect since kindergarten. Then, a week before Christmas, he allegedly shot their only child six times.

Authorities say 22-year-old Grady Hampton works as a teacher's aide in Seacliff. Now, he's being held without bail in the shooting death of lifelong acquaintance.

Police made the arrest Wednesday night, about seven months after the shooting.

"I never got a chance to say anything to my son," Sapp's mother, Tina Richardson, said. "By the time I got to the medical center, he was gone."

In December, police recovered six bullet shells from the residential Uniondale street where Sapp was gunned down in the back and chest. The bullets penetrated through his heart and lungs.

Authorities say Sapp was clearing off the seat of his car across the street from the suspect's house. Police say sapp was there because the alleged gunman's girlfriend called him. They don't know why, but they say the shooting was over jealousy.

"This is a simple formula," Detective Lieutenant Michael Fleming said. "Two men, one woman and a gun. That was the formula for this tragedy."

The suspect's roommate and uncle, Greg Hampton, says police have the wrong person in custody and other witnesses need to come forward.

"He works for a school with kids, goes to work every day," he said. "He did nothing wrong."

At least one bullet also shot straight through a neighbor's window. No one was hurt, but the bullet hole is still there, covered with tape.

Neighbors who remember the tragedy say the arrest of a seemingly hardworking teacher's aide is just hard to accept.

"He's just a marvelous person," neighbor Joan Campbell said. "It's hard to believe."

Family members Sapp aspired to be an auto mechanic.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Emily Smith