A video was released on Jan. 15 by the FBI of a shooting between a Crips gang member and an FBI Special Agent that happened in Brooklyn on Dec. 8, 2018.
In the surveillance camera video, you can see 31-year-old Crips gang member Ronell Watson driving a BMW sedan and turning onto Canarsie Road, a one-way street, in the wrong direction. After stopping in front of the agent’s parked car, Watson exited his car and walked toward the agent’s window with one hand in his sweater pocket.
The agent started the car and sped off as Watson approached his side door but Watson managed to shoot him in the torso. Watson continued to fire at the agent’s car as the agent escaped.
Once the agent reached the end of the block, he jumped out and returned fire at Watson, striking the gang members hand. Watson then returned to his car and fled the scene.
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) December 10, 2018
Caught Red Handed
Watson, now with an injured hand, went to Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center for treatment after leaving his car at an auto body shop. He falsely claimed that he was a bystander caught in the middle of a gunfight. At that time, law enforcement at the hospital overheard a phone call between Watson and his girlfriend, Molissa Gangapersad, where Watson was quoted telling her “to go to the house and ‘get the jewelry and get rid of it,'” according to the news release by the Department of Justice.
Suspecting that this was the person who shot the agent, the officials who overheard the conversation went to Watson’s and Gangapersad’s house. Gangapersad was asked for a voluntary interview by the FBI and she agreed.
In the interview, Gangapersad lied to the FBI, telling them that she hadn’t seen the gunfight. She only admitted to seeing the gunfight after she was presented with the surveillance video where she is seen on her porch in view of the shooting.
“Members of law enforcement searched the residence and found approximately 1.5 pounds of marijuana, $15,000 in cash, and a large amount of jewelry in the defendants’ bedroom,” the news release stated.
Watson and Gangapersad were arrested that evening.
A Grievous Crime Threatens Security
Richard P. Donoghue, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and the FBI announced the charges against Watson, which include the attempted murder of an FBI Special Agent and using a firearm in a violent crime.
“Watson showed an utter disregard for human life when he fired multiple shots without provocation at an on-duty FBI Special Agent,” said Donoghue.
He added that the unprovoked assault on the agent was a crime that “threatens the safety and security of other communities.”
Gangapersad was charged separately for lying to the FBI.
Courage Leads to Law and Order
The agent’s courageous effort to stop and return fire even after being shot was what led to the arrest of Watson, said Donoghue. Because Watson sought treatment for his wound, the officers were able to find both of the suspects.
Donoghue greatly appreciated the help from the New York City Police Department, as well as the FBI and the skilled medics who treated the wounded agent.
Watson faces a 10 year minimum prison sentence and a life sentence, and Gangapersad up to five years in prison if convicted. The first court hearing of the case was held on Jan. 14 before Judge Roanne L. Mann, where Watson’s was denied bail and both defendants pleaded not guilty.
The next court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2019.