Two of the men who were allegedly responsible for killing a 61-year-old woman in a Bronx gang shootout were cuffed Friday morning while a third is still being sought, police announced.
20-year-old Donald Johnson and his brother 33-year-old Rakel Hampton of 24-03 Preston Avenue were taken into police custody without incident in the Bronx, Chief of Detectives James Essig said on April 8.
Police believe the tragedy occurred just after 7:05 p.m. on April 4 when three Blood gang members engaged in an argument with three vendors in front of 150 East 188 Street. Handguns were brandished, sending the illegal vendors fleeing. Johnson fired five shots after his targets but missed, striking and killing 61-year-old Juana Esperanza Soriano De-Perdomo who was exiting a storefront.
“This is another example of pointless violence on the streets of our city. Criminals cannot act with impunity. Everyone will be held accountable for their actions,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.
Johnson and Hampton were apprehended by the Bronx Violence Felony Squad on April 8 at 7:40 am; however, Sewell added that the investigation is still ongoing and additional suspects who were involved in the shooting are still being sought who she vows will be found and held accountable.
Both brothers have a lengthy history of arrests. Johnson had three prior arrests, two from 2020 involving criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property—which he is currently out on probation for—and also has charges in New Jersey in 2021 for criminal possession of guns and drugs.
Hampton is known to the NYPD as a Bloods gang member with 11 prior violent arrests, the latest being an arrest in January for criminal possession of a gun which he was out indicted for but made bail on April 4 the same day of the shooting.
“She was totally innocent and an unintended victim of this scourge of gun violence we now see. Investigation reveals a dispute in which we believe involving vendors and Blood gang members occurred in front of 150 East 188th Street,” Chief Essig said.
Chief Essig stated there was an unidentified male with Johnson and Hampton during the incident who began to argue with three other men, one of which was a clothing vendor at 150 East 188th Street who NYPD believes placed a gun into his backpack during the altercation. Johnson brandished a .9mm handgun, firing five shots missing their intended target as they fled and instead hit Soriano De-Perdomo in the back, killing her. One of the targeted individuals fled into a nearby subway station, while the other two jumped into a white SUV.
“The motive into this is still under investigation. What we know is you have illegal vendors there with Blood gang members there and some of which we have narcotics involved in that, so the motive for the actual shooting is still under investigation but we are exploring all avenues,” Essig said.