2007-09-28 / Community

Rockaway Youth Testifies In Shooting That Left Him Partially Paralyzed

By Howard Schwach

John Henry Romano prior to the shooting. He was left partially paralyzed and blind in one eye. John Henry Romano prior to the shooting. He was left partially paralyzed and blind in one eye. When a young Rockaway boy went to visit a Nassau County cousin for a sleepover in September of last year, he believed that he was in for a good time. Instead, the boy, now 10, is partially paralyzed and blinded in one eye after a shootout resulted from a home invasion.

John Henry Romano limped into a Nassau County court last week to finally face one of the three men who broke into the Inwood home of his uncle on September 23, 2005.

Romano, who lives in Edgemere and attended PS 43, told the court that he did not remember the shooting, that he was down on the floor covering his head with his hands when he was shot in the head. The next thing he remembers, he said, was being carried to an ambulance and being rushed to the hospital.

"I felt really numb," he told the jurors of his experience.

Prosecutors say that Rasheed Watson, a New Jersey man, shot Romano during a gun battle that ensued when a tenant in the Inwood house shot at Watson and the other intruders. Watson was charged with multiple counts of assault and robbery.

Another man charged in the shooting, Tyreek Williams, 22, pled guilty in May to assault, robbery and burglary and was sentenced last month to 21 years in prison. The third suspect is in custody, but has yet to be charged.

Romano told the court that he was playing video games with his cousin when three men, two of them with guns, entered the house.

He said the men demanded that all of the adults place their valuables and money in a bag. He told the jury that the man who demanded the money had gold on his teeth, just as Watson had when he was arrested at a Brooklyn hospital later that day.

When the tenant in the home, who had a license for his handgun, opened fire, Romano said, he flattened on the ground.

The trial is expected to last into next week, court officials said.

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