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Shooting Suspect 'Career Criminal' Status Sparks Outrage In Mount Vernon

The suspect, Bronx resident Errol Hillary, 39, was reportedly free on bail following a June arrest on attempted murder charges. Photo Credit: Provided
O'Neil Bandoo, the 36-year-old owner of the Mansion club who was shot and killed Christmas morning, leaves behind a wife and six children. Photo Credit: Facebook
The fatal shooting occurred around 4:26 a.m. Sunday at the Mansion at 4 North 3rd Avenue in Mount Vernon. Photo Credit: Google Maps
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, in a file photo. Photo Credit: File photo

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- The fact that suspect in the the Christmas morning Mount Vernon nightclub shooting that killed owner O'Neil Bandoo and left five other men injured is considered a "career criminal," is sparking outrage in the city.

The suspect, Bronx resident Errol Hillary, 39, was reportedly free on $200,000 bail following a springtime arrest on attempted murder charges, a fact that is being much discussed as Mount Vernon mourns the beloved Bandoo, a married father of six.

Hillary was charged with second-degree murder in Mount Vernon City Court Monday morning before being ordered held without bail at the Westchester County Jail. He is due to return to court on Friday.

Reports that a second person died are unconfirmed by the Mount Vernon Police Department, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas office said in an updated statement at 9:50 p.m. Sunday.

Shots were fired at around 4:26 a.m. Christmas morning after the club's owner, the 36-year-old Bandoo and security kicked out Hillary. The suspect, a Bronx man whose identity is expected to be released Monday, reportedly then returned and opened fire in the lobby. Security guards helped Mount Vernon police officers, who were on patrol nearby, tackle the suspect as he tried to flee.

The individual who was previously reported to be deceased is recovering after extensive surgery at Jacobi Medical Center, the mayor's office said.

The others involved in the shooting remain hospitalized and in stable condition, the mayor's office said. They reportedly suffered gunshot wounds in the arms, back, chest and legs.

"Mr. Bandoo was a good man who was dedicated to uplifting and serving the people of Mount Vernon," Thomas said, adding the incident in the pre-dawn hours "hurts and will hang heavy in our hearts this holiday season.”

Thomas described Hillary as "a career criminal from New York City, currently out on bail from a May 15th attempted murder charge in the Bronx."

An extensive investigation is continuing of the shootings is continuing, Thomas said.

“This is no way for anyone to spend Christmas, ever," Thomas said. "We must pray for the victims who are being treated in local hospitals for their injuries. While our police maintain a vigilant presence, this random yet retaliatory act rises to the level of domestic terror. The city will take all necessary steps to review public safety at late-night locations.”

"Thank God that our police were on the scene and were able to apprehend the suspect. We thank our public safety officers particularly our partners at Empress Ambulance who rapidly responded to administer aid, as well as our Fire Department who provided additional support.

"We also thank the Westchester District Attorney for being on hand to ensure a dose of Strong Justice will be served. Grief counselors will remain available to all who need an additional outlet for consolation. The scumbag that committed this brutal crime must be penalized to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Mansion is known for hosting wedding receptions, concerts, sweet 16's and baby showers.

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