A 34-year-old father of two was shot dead last month after a soft touch judge set a suspected teen gang member free again after his third gun arrest in four months, it has been revealed.
Alberto Ramirez, 16, is accused of shooting Eric Velasquez in Fordham, the Bronx, back on May 16, after he allegedly opened fire indiscriminately into a crowd.
Velasquez was just feet from his apartment when a bullet struck him in the stomach.
He died in hospital hours later, after police said he refused to hand over any information about his killer.
Ramirez was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
It has now emerged that a series of failings by a New York City judge allowed Ramirez to be out on the streets the day he allegedly murdered the 34-year-old.
A 34-year-old father of two was shot dead last month after a soft touch judge set a suspected teen gang member free again after his third gun arrest in four months, it has been revealed. Alberto Ramirez, 16, (seen in mug) is accused of shooting Eric Velasquez
Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle helped set the teen free on two recent occasions involving gun charges – once freeing him without bail and once slashing the bail from $75,000 to $10,000 cash or $25,000 bond.
He also ignored prosecutors’ pleas to charge Ramirez as an adult on two occasions, instead referring the cases to family court, according to the New York Post.
Ramirez’s most recent gun-related arrest was on February 23 over an incident on February 8.
Sources told the Post the 16-year-old had accidentally shot himself in the foot while walking near rival gang turf.
Ramirez allegedly lied to police about the incident, claiming he was shot by three men who had confronted him in the street.
When surveillance footage showed he had shot himself in the foot, he was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and falsely reporting an incident, the sources said.
He was held on $75,000 bail – a sum that means it is possible he would still been behind bars on May 16.
But Boyle reduced the bail on March 2 and his family posted the bond a few weeks later, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office told the Post.
Around a month after he walked free, he allegedly shot and killed Velasquez.
Velasquez (pictured with son) was just feet from his apartment when a bullet struck him in the stomach. He died in hospital hours later
Ramirez was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Velasquez with his son
The February arrest was the third since December which saw the teen walking free.
Ramirez was first arrested and charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon over an October shooting, the Post reported.
The teen allegedly dropped a loaded handgun inside a Bronx apartment and the weapon discharged, firing into a neighboring apartment.
Police found three firearms in the property.
In this case, prosecutors are said to have agreed that the case be transferred to family court.
In December, Ramirez was arrested again and charged him with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after cops found him in possession of a .25-caliber pistol, reported the Post.
Boyle let Ramirez walk free without any bail.
It has now emerged that a series of failings by a New York City judge allowed Ramirez to be out on the streets the day he allegedly murdered the 34-year-old. Bronx Civil Supreme Court
This decision came even after bail was set at $2,000 – a fraction of the $25,000 cash or $70,000 bond requested by prosecutors.
Law enforcement sources slammed Boyle for his handling of the teen’s various gun arrests, with one accusing the judge of giving Ramirez ‘enough rope to hang himself.’
‘Here is a kid who got a gun, got another gun, got another gun,’ another source said.
‘How many bites of the apple does someone get before someone gets killed? In this case, it was three.’
Boyle has come under fire for other controversial decisions in the past.
The judge was slammed last year after he released murder suspect Jordon Benjamin last March due to COVID-19.
Benjamin had been behind bars for the Christmas Eve 2019 attack on 60-year-old Juan Fresnada, who died from his injuries days later.
Nine months after he was released by Boyle, he allegedly slashed a young woman in the stomach with a knife.
This incident came two decades after Boyle signed a plea deal to release homeless man Ishmael Holmes following a sex attack on a woman in the Bronx.
340 East 184th Street in Fordham Heights where Velasquez was allegedly shot by Ramirez
The judge allowed him to return to a shelter and receive therapy.
Holmes allegedly went on to attack eight women on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the months that followed before he was arrested again in 2020.
A call to the Bronx Supreme Court by DailyMail.com was not answered late Wednesday.
Velasquez’s death comes amid a crime wave in New York City, with both shootings and shooting victims up 68 percent so far in 2021 compared to the same time last year.
A total of 13 people were shot over Memorial Day weekend including a 15-year-old boy who was killed in the Bronx.
Fears are growing that the city is harking back to the dark days of the 70s and 80s when murders and shootings were rife and it earned the nickname ‘Fear City.’
Governor Andrew Cuomo has admitted New York City is now in the throes of a ‘major crime problem’ which – if not tackled soon – could cause irreparable damage to the Big Apple.