2009-05-08 / Front Page

Two Busted For Tyrese Johnson Slay

By Howard Schwach

The body of Tyrese Johnson lies on the sidewalk in front of 1075 Beach 21 Street on May 19, 2008. The body of Tyrese Johnson lies on the sidewalk in front of 1075 Beach 21 Street on May 19, 2008. Sometimes, justice is done " in Rockaway," said Sharon

Johnson, the mother of Tyrese Johnson, 16, who was brutally murdered as he walked into a restaurant on Mott Avenue and Beach 21 Street on May 19 of last year. Johnson's words came shortly after she learned that, after a long search, detectives from the 101 Precinct had arrested the two men wanted for her son's murder.

Johnson told The Wave on Tuesday night that she was "excited and happy" over the news of the arrests.

"Justice has finally been served," she said, adding that the arrest confirmed her belief that Tyrese had been shot because he was mistakenly taken for his cousin, who looks very much like him, and who was involved in criminal activity.

Family members at the time said that Tyrese was mistaken for the younger brother of a man with whom one of the killers had an altercation earlier in the day. The shooter, they say, wanted to retaliate against that man's younger brother and got Tyrese instead.

"The arrests prove that the motive was not against Tyrese, but his cousin," she said.

The two arrested men have been identified by police as Himen Ross, 23, of 182 Beach 27 Street and Jeffrey Ghee, 22.

Police sources say that Ross was arrested at his Rockaway home two weeks ago and Ghee was picked up by detectives in Schenectady, New York, where he was living.

Both Ross and Ghee were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on April 22 on charges of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon.

Johnson was in Rockaway visiting his parents at the time of the shooting. His mother had sent him to North Carolina to live because she felt that her Far Rockaway neighborhood was too violent and that he needed to get away from the peninsula.

Johnson, who was called "Pop" on the street, was walking into Sissy's West Indian and American Restaurant and Bar at 1075 Beach 21 Street at about 2:15 in the afternoon when he was shot.

Five men were shot near that location the previous Sunday, and police were in an alert status because of a spate of recent shootings.

The eleventh-grader had been spending a month with his fam- ily at their Regina Avenue home after living with his aunt in North Carolina for the past year.

His mother said that he was excited that he had just been accepted to a summer jobs program that would pay him to work and take job classes.

"He just went around the corner to the store to get a phone card. I called him on his cell phone and told him to be careful because of all the shootings. He told me that he would be OK," she said.

Police said at the time that the two teens who shot Johnson were caught on a store surveillance video and that detectives were looking for the pair.

Both men were remanded without the possibility of bail and face 25 years to life in prison if they are convicted of the murder charge.

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