2005-01-21 / Front Page

Police Lose HammelsWarrant Bid

By Brian Magoolaghan

A crime scene investigation into a pre-dawn shooting in Arverne that left two apartment doors riddled with bullet holes came to an early end last Friday when police were denied a search warrant.

Officers responded to the fifth-floor hallway of the apartment building at 51-24 Beach Channel Drive at about 2:15 a.m. and found the doors to apartments 5B and 5C punctured by several bullets each, police said. The occupant of 5B, Miriam Byer, 46, told officers she heard several shots followed by the sound of the door to 5C slam shut.

Police – in search of a shooting victim, they said – knocked on the door to 5C. But there was no answer.

The officers then called in the Emergency Service Unit to force the door.

Upon entry, officers found a woman and five men hunkering inside. A small amount of marijuana was also discovered in plain view inside the apartment, law enforcement sources said.

The occupants of the apartment, Belinda Maloney, 39, Jamal Eigner, 20, Kisern Mathews, 18, Gregory Spann, 26, Jamal Hamilton, 22 and Michael Maloney, 17, were interviewed at the 101 Precinct stationhouse for about two hours and released. None of them were charged in connection with the marijuana recovered at the scene.

Police, who wanted to search the apartment for drugs and weapons, contacted the district attorney’s office and requested a warrant, but an assistant district attorney denied the request on the basis of insufficient evidence.

A law enforcement source said the small amount of marijuana recovered, combined with the fact that there were six people inside the apartment when the door was forced open, prevented further legal action. “If it was an illegal search then they can’t be charged with a crime,” said the source.

The investigation by the 101 Precinct Detective Squad continued at press time.

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