2009-01-16 / Top Stories

Local Murdered In Jamaica Drive-By Shooting

By Howard Schwach

Andre Saunders Andre Saunders A Rockaway man was shot and killed while reportedly shooting a rap video outside a Jamaica housing project on Sunday afternoon, police say.

One other man was killed and another wounded in the same shooting event, which took place outside the Jamaica Houses at about 4:32 p.m. on January 11, officials say.

Police have identified the local victim as Andre Saunders, 32, of 460 Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway, a bus driver for the The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bus Company.

Family members told reporters that Saunders drove for the MTA but that

his real love was rap, and particularly rap videos. "This is the devil's work," Alicia Wrencher, Saunders' sister, told reporters. "He was a good man who loved rap and loved to make music videos." Police sources say that

Saunders apparently got caught in the middle of a shooting in which the other man who was killed, Lemarr Wilson, 22, was the target. Portions of the shooting were caught on the video camera that the men were using, but police declined to comment on what the footage shows.

Wilson, reportedly shot by another rapper last year, had a police record that included at least 16 arrests for robbery and narcotics.

Joseph Smith, the president of the bus company, issued a statement that read, in part, "This afternoon, the MTA Bus Company lost a valued employee. Andre was a dedicated employee and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues."

Local residents said that Saunders was well-liked in the community and was known for filming videos for local musicians and rap artists.

He was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.

Wilson was taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The third man, identified by police as Montigue Brunson, 20, was hit in the left ankle and is expected to recover. Police sources said that Brunson is not cooperating with detectives attempting to find the shooter.

State Senator Malcolm Smith, who recently became the Senate Majority Leader, calls the shooting "an isolated incident," and says that Southeastern Queens is still a safe place to live.

He wonders, however, why no eyewitnesses have come forward to aid detectives.

He is demanding answers as to how three men could be shot in broad daylight without one witness.

"The families deserve answers as to why their loved ones were lost so senselessly," Smith said.

Police say they have no suspects in the shooting and declined to comment on a possible motive, except to say that they believe that Saunders was not the target.

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