NEW YORK (AP) — A long-running feud between two men ended in bloodshed when a gunfight broke out at a funeral in Brooklyn, leaving one of them dead, police said Tuesday.
The gunfire Monday night also killed another man and wounded four others — all apparently bystanders — and created a chaotic scene outside Emmanuel Church of God in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood.
Witnesses told investigators that the violence erupted after Sharieff Clayton and another man encountered each other at the funeral and got into a dispute stemming from bad blood going back several years. The other man left the church and returned in a silver car with two other men before the shooting began as Clayton and other mourners were leaving the church, police said.
An unidentified man in the crowd pulled a gun and returned fire at the car in a shootout that killed Clayton, 40, of the Bronx, and Ronald Murphy. Murphy, 44, of Brooklyn, and the four other people wounded in the crossfire were believed to be bystanders, said New York Police Department spokesman Steve Davis.
One witness, 43-year-old Raul Marroquin, described taking cover with his children as the bullets flew and mourners ran for their lives. “I threw myself with the kids on the floor,” he said.
Police said 15 rounds were fired, and some came from within the church vestibule. No guns were recovered.
The 40-year-old man suspected of targeting Clayton was later found in the car a few blocks away and was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the stomach, police said. The two other men he was with and the other shooter from the crowd were all being sought, they said.
Police said some of the people involved had criminal records, but it was unclear if any had gang affiliations.
The mourners had gathered at the church for the funeral of Jose Luis Robles, who had died of natural causes. Robles, 38, was known in the neighborhood as someone from a troubled past who had helped turned his life around by going to college.
A Manhattan College spokesman confirmed that Robles was a part-time commuter student who was not currently registered at the Bronx school. He had completed 27 credits and had not yet declared a major in the College’s School of Arts.
The street in front of the church was blocked off Tuesday as elected officials, community organizers and pastors gathered for a rally across Flatbush Avenue.
Councilman Jumaane Williams, whose district includes East Flatbush, said he will push for funding for jobs so young people won’t be on the streets.
“We must find jobs for our young people. It’s summertime, almost. I want my young people to have work experience and to be extremely tired at the end of the day,” he said.
Irving Richiez, 39, who was not at the funeral but came to the scene on Tuesday after hearing about it, said Murphy was a friend and a Masonic brother.
“We lost a dear one,” he said of Murphy, describing him as “a husband, a father, a great man.”
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