District Attorney Hoovler Announces First Arraignment of a Target Charged in Non-Fatal Shooting Program

May 4, 2017

Defendant Indicted in Gun and Drug Possession Case;
Investigation of Shooting Case Continues

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, that, Syed Abdul-Khabir, age 17, of the City of Newburgh, was arraigned in Orange County Court on charges of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second and Third Degrees, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. ​Abdul-Khabir is the first defendant charged under the newly-developed City of Newburgh Non-Fatal Shooting program who has been indicted for any crime. ​

The Non-Fatal Shooting program is funded by a grant from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and is designed to help police investigate and solve non-fatal bullet-to-body shooting cases in the City of Newburgh where the victims are uncooperative with law enforcement. The grant funds a District Attorney’s investigator, a City of Newburgh detective, and a crime analyst, who work together to enhance cases where someone is shot but refuses to assist law enforcement in the investigation. Under the program, the investigative team, among other things, searches for evidence of each shooting, such as surveillance video, ballistics evidence, shell casings, photographs, fingerprints, social media postings, and statements of witnesses other than the victim.

On February 2, 2017, police were called to the scene of a shooting on Broadway in the City of Newburgh. Upon their arrival, they found a taxicab driver sitting in his cab. The cab driver told police that he had been struck by a bullet fired by an unknown assailant. Investigation by the Non-Fatal Shooting team focused on Abdul-Khabir.

As part of their investigation of the shooting, on April 18, 2017, investigators in the Non-Fatal Shooting program, with the assistance of other City of Newburgh officers, executed a search warrant at Abdul-Khabir’s home on West Parmenter Street. As a result of that search, the investigators recovered a .357 revolver and over 200 envelopes of heroin.

The gun and drugs are the basis of the indictment on which Abdul-Khabir was arraigned on May 2, 2017. In connection with the shooting incident, Abdul-Khabir was also arrested on charges of Assault in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, and Reckless Endangerment.

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Newburgh Police Department for their efforts in the investigation of the cases involving Abdul-Khabir, and for their commitment to the Non-Fatal Shooting program.

“Gun violence is senseless,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “and it is critical that law enforcement use every means at its disposal to bring its perpetrators to justice. In cases where shooting victims refuse to cooperate out of fear of retaliation, or for any other reason, it is especially important that law enforcement use creative strategies to solve those cases, to remove those violent offenders from the streets. I’m thankful to DCJS for providing us with additional resources to address gun violence in the City of Newburgh. This office will use those resources, and any other legal means at our disposal, to help stop the shooting in Newburgh.”

Senior Assistant District Attorney Leah Canton is handling prosecution of the cases against Abdul-Khabir.

A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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