Bronx murder victim apparently pleaded for his life before childhood friend allegedly shot and chopped him up: NYPD

Bronx murder suspect who allegedly shot his friend is escorted by detectives
Alleged killer 48-year-old Sheldon Johnson had been childhood pals with 44-year-old victim Collin Small, growing up together in Harlem and even served prison time together in SingSing correctional facility. However, this apparent bond could not prevent a gruesome murder from taking place.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

“Please, I have a family.”

Those were the apparent last words of Bronx resident Collin Small, 44, before police said his childhood friend shot him to death, and then dismembered his body inside his apartment earlier this month.

Police officials provided the horrific details of the charges against the alleged killer, 48-year-old Sheldon Johnson, a criminal justice advocate who had known Small since they were kids growing up in Harlem and even served time together in prison at Ossining.

Small’s torso was found on March 5 inside an apartment at 979 Summit Ave. Following an investigation, police believe Johnson killed Small following a beef over money.

According to Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny, the pair’s relationship appeared to fatally break down during the early hours of March 5 when neighbors heard gunshots and a bone-chilling plea.

Authorities say those nearby listened to two gunshots ring out before Small apparently begged for his life.

“During the pause, ear-witnesses tell us they hear: ‘Please, I have a family,’ and then he is shot,” Chief Kenny said.

Chief Kenny reports that Small was shot four times all together before Johnson allegedly began dismembering his friend.

Police say they recovered parts of his body from various places within the apartment where he lived, including a blue bin and his severed head in a freezer.

Officials also said that they recovered the victim’s car near Johnson’s Harlem apartment, inside of which they found hacksaw blades. A bullet was found lodged in Small’s head during an autopsy.

Small’s family members apparently told police that the two men had been arguing over money, suggesting that one of the men may have owed the other some cash, possibly over drugs.

“We did do a search warrant at the location [at Small’s home] where we recovered a kilo press which would indicate there’s definitely going to be a narcotics angle involved here,” Chief Kenny said.

The mountain of evidence left Johnson held without bail despite pleading his innocence as he was led out of the 44th Precinct in cuffs on March 7.