2011-09-09 / Top Stories

Belle Harbor Shooter Pleads Guilty

By Nicholas Briano


Detectives from the NYPD Crime Scene Unit search for clues in 2009 on Beach 129 Street after the shooting. Detectives from the NYPD Crime Scene Unit search for clues in 2009 on Beach 129 Street after the shooting. A Rockaway Beach man arrested for shooting of a man in his head in 2009, was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to the attempted murder.

Robert Cassato, 38, shot Tommy O’Neil, 27, of Breezy Point after leaving Jameson’s Pub on Beach 129 Street after 3 a.m. on June 14, 2009. O’Neil, while waiting for someone to pick him up on the corner of Beach 129 Street and Newport Avenue, sat on a Mercedes Benz automobile that had a “For Sale” sign in the window. A black Acura with four people inside pulled up. The driver allegedly asked O’Neil if he would sell them the car.

When O’Neil told them that it wasn’t his car, however, an argument ensued. This argument led to O’Neil suffering a single gunshot wound to his head by Cassato, one of the passengers riding in the back seat of the Acura. The shooting left O’Neil in critical condition in Jamaica Hospital. The driver fled the scene and was caught by police on Beach 116 Street.

Cassato and his girlfriend fled on foot, eluding police, but he would eventually turn himself in on the day that followed the shooting.

Cassato was charged with attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon, assault and reckless endangerment. He pled guilty to attempted murder.

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