Arrest made in card game shooting near St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Arrest made in card game shooting near St. Patrick's Cathedral
Pedro Hernandez, wanted for opening fire during an argument over a card game near St. Patrick's Cathedral, is now charged with attempted murder. N.J. Burkett has the story.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man wanted for opening fire during an argument over gambling near St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan is now in custody, charged with attempted murder and other offenses.

Police arrested 22-year-old Pedro Hernandez Monday in connection with the shooting, which happened just before 6 p.m. on August 28 on East 50th Street.

Authorities say he had just lost money and jewelry on a shell game and followed the winners to their car, demanding his property and money back.

When they entered their car, Hernandez allegedly walked around to the driver's side and fired one shot through the driver's window, missing all the occupants.

Police say he then followed them in his own car to the Palace Hotel, where those he was chasing exited their vehicle and fled on foot. He then chased after them, gun in hand, according to prosecutors, until one of them dropped his property.

Additionally, several days after NYPD attempted to arrange his surrender, prosecutors say he booked several flights, including an international flight to Panama City.

"This is a very strong case," the prosecutor told the judge. "The defendant is clearly seen with a firearm in his hand. Video clearly depicts his unique appearance."

In addition to attempted murder, Hernandez is charged with attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and reckless endangerment.

Police say Hernandez has been arrested five times since he was released from Rikers Island in 2017 during a period of calls for bail reform.

Four of those arrests were for driving with a suspended license and other motor vehicle offenses, but his most serious arrest during that time was for allegedly slashing a person during a 2019 Bronx robbery.

Authorities say he and three others approached the victim on Quimby Avenue and slashed the face of the victim, who required 15 stitches to close the wound.

Hernandez also allegedly struck the victim multiple times with a baseball bat while an accomplice pulled a black Gucci watch from his wrist, another pulled a gold necklace from his neck, and another sprayed him in the face with unknown liquid.

The Bronx District Attorney's Office asked Hernandez be held on $100,000 bail, but the judge set the amount at $15,000 cash or a $25,000 bond.

Hernandez posted the $15,000 bail.

He is awaiting trial on that felony charge, with his next court date October 12.

In the latest shooting, Hernandez has been held without bail, going beyond the Manhattan District Attorney's Office request of $150,000 cash bail or $450,000 bond.

Hernandez's attorney, however, insisted his client is innocent and falsely accused, and that he should remain free to fight the allegations against him.

"We think that we're going to be able to get an exoneration on it," attorney Andre Travieso said. "We're going to put up a vigorous fight. We need to take this to trial. They're being unreasonable."

Hernandez was once bailed out of Rikers Island by criminal justice activists after he spent a year in jail awaiting trial in a case that was later dropped.

His story was championed by bail reform advocates, yet he would later be arrested multiple times.

"I have considered your ability to make bail," the judge said. "But while out on a violent felony, you're accused of a violent felony. You are remanded."

Moments later, his attorney called it an injustice.

"My client is vigorously denying all charges, and we're ready to fight this matter," Travieso said. "This is evidence that matters, not arguments."

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