2002-06-01 / Front Page

‘They Had No Right To Kill Him’

'They Had No Right To Kill Him'
By Gary G. Toms


Sandra Johnson (left), the sister of murder victim Dennis Ross is pictured with her mother, Barbara Cole. "This is taking a toll on me. I lost my son, and I'm asking people to please help us," said Cole.Sandra Johnson (left), the sister of murder victim Dennis Ross is pictured with her mother, Barbara Cole. "This is taking a toll on me. I lost my son, and I'm asking people to please help us," said Cole.

Questions Abound As Family Asks
Community To Turn In Shooter

On Monday, May 6, at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway, the Ross family's lives changed forever. It was around midnight when an assailant shot two men in front of building 12-70 on Redfern Avenue. One of the men, Dennis Ross, 28, took four shots to his chest and torso. By 12:20 a.m., Ross was pronounced dead on the scene. The other man, local resident Leon Harper, shot once in the leg, was transported to Jamaica Hospital. His condition was not considered life threatening.

Members of the Ross family have stated to The Wave that they felt too much emphasis was placed on the injured man instead of Dennis, who was still fighting to stay alive after being shot.

"I don t understand why they put the other man in the ambulance to be treated, when my brother was lying on the floor. He needed immediate help, and all the focus was placed on the guy who was shot in the leg," said Sandra Johnson, the victim s sister.

Barkim Newson, the victim s nephew, noted that a call was placed at 12:05 a.m. to 911, but police officials and emergency service personnel did not arrive until 12:20. He too indicated that the injured man was immediately placed in the ambulance, while his uncle was left on the floor.

"He was still breathing. He was fighting to stay alive. They could ve done something to try and save him, but they helped the other man first," said Newson.

The Wave spoke with a representative from the Emergency Service Department regarding the family s allegations. After taking all information provided by The Wave, an EMS official made attempts to track down the unit and names of the medical technicians who responded to the scene of the shooting. Surprisingly, the spokesperson indicated that there was no record of any unit responding to 12-70 Redfern Avenue on the date and time of the murder. When the official was asked if it was unusual that it would not be on record, when an ambulance was clearly seen by a number of people, he noted, "If they were there, it should be on record. This is a bit strange."

While efforts are underway to apprehend the suspect in the shooting, Thaddeus "Shoes" Corley, 18, of 15-30 Hassock Street, the family has been frustrated by reports that Corley has been spotted by a number of Redfern Houses residents.

"To my understanding, the person who killed Dennis has been seen in areas near the shooting, " said Barbara Cole, mother of the murder victim.

The Wave contacted the lead detective investigating the case, Detective Paulsen of the 101 Precinct Squad, to try and confirm the reports that Corley was seen in the Redfern area. The detective declined the opportunity to comment.

In reflecting on the type of man her son was, Cole admitted that he did have run-ins with the law, but he managed to turn his life around dramatically.

"He really changed his life. He worked in construction. He got baptized. He was getting ready to get married, and he was living a good life. It was an amazing transformation, and to have it end like this, over a game of dice, it hurts. They had no right to kill him. They had no right to take his life. They are not God," said Cole.

The Ross family is pleading for members of the Redfern community, and others, to come forward if they have any information that could help them bring the killer to justice.

"I don t want another mother to have to endure what I m going through. Anything that the community can do to help us would be greatly appreciated," said the teary-eyed mother.

"It would bring peace for us to have him caught. We cannot move on until then," stated Johnson.

The family is offering a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Thaddeus "Shoes" Corley. Anybody with information on the case should contact Detective Paulsen at the 101 Precinct Squad, (718) 868-3429.


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