The indictments came following a multi-jurisdictional investigation into a fatal shooting during a lawless spree that took place on May 21.
According to the indictment, Mount Vernon residents Eric “Bubba” Lee, and Allen “Hat” Copeland, New Rochelle resident Sincere Smith, Waterbury, Conn., resident Leroy Garcia and John Oquendo from the Bronx, allegedly participated in a conspiracy to commit robberies in Westchester, which led to the death of one of their intended victims. The spree spanned through several cities, including Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Yonkers, as well as locations in the Bronx. It lasted several hours.
After successfully completing armed robberies of their fourth and fifth victims, Lee and Smith attempted to rob their sixth victim while Garcia stood as a lookout and Copeland served as a getaway driver, the charges state. When the victim attempted to get away, Lee allegedly shot Trevon Boswell in the back in the stairwell to his own residence.
Following the shooting, their alleged spree continued - armed with illegal handguns - to Bonnefoy Place in New Rochelle and the 45th Precinct in the Bronx. According to the indictment, while in the Bronx, near the Mount Vernon border, they allegedly attempted to take a chain from around their 11th victim’s neck, and when their cab driver attempted to get the chain back, Lee shot him twice.
The alleged spree continued to Yonkers, where Lee, Smith, Copeland and Oquendo robbed their victims at a cab stand. In total, during the 12-hour spree, 16 people were victimized, including the shooting death of Boswell.
Law enforcement officials from Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers and the NYPD worked together to investigate the spree.
The charges against the five men include murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault, attempted robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, conspiracy, unlawful imprisonment and criminal possession of stolen property. They all pleaded not guilty to the 50-count indictment.
At the time of the spree, Copeland was on parole for a 2014 conviction for possession of a firearm. Garcia had three New York warrants, including one from the Westchester County Department of Probation, as well as warrants in the State of Connecticut. He was also on probation supervision for a felony DWI conviction.
“The subjects in this case showed no regard for human life after allegedly killing one of the victims in the early hours of their crime spree,” William Sweeney, Jr., the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI stated. “They went on for many more hours, continuing to terrorize several communities, with no fear of getting caught or thought to stopping.”
The five men have been remanded to jail. They are due back in court on Aug. 9, where they will face life in prison.
“This was a vicious crime spree, leaving a trail of innocent victims, including one senseless death,” Westchester County DA Anthony Scarpino stated. “The evidence in this case will reveal an appalling level of depravity and violence that willl not be tolerated in Westchester.”
“We are extremely proud of the patrol officers and detectives who made the arrest,” Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Shawn Harris added. “Crime crosses borders, so law enforcement should too.”
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