At a Bronx Vigil Nearly a Year After a Killing, a Man Is Shot Dead

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Published: April 27, 2012

Nearly a year ago, Michael Ikoli emerged from his apartment building on Webster Avenue in the Bronx and was shot dead. Wednesday would have been his 25th birthday, and a couple dozen friends gathered in front of his building to pay their respects. They lighted candles, dozens of them.

Gunshots rang out. Suddenly, there was a new victim to mourn.

About 10:30 p.m., a man walked up to the gathering and shot one of Mr. Ikoli’s friends, Jonathan Lewis, twice in the torso, the police said. Mr. Lewis, 22, was declared dead at St. Barnabas Hospital. Police officers who responded to the shooting soon arrested a suspect, Darrell Patillo, 18, after finding him hiding under a van less than five blocks from the vigil.

Mr. Lewis had known Mr. Ikoli since they were young, growing up four blocks apart, and he was among Mr. Ikoli’s friends who wanted to honor him at the vigil, his relatives said.

“This area is small,” said Nicole Shields, Mr. Lewis’s sister. “I know it hurt him” when Mr. Ikoli was killed.

Mr. Ikoli was well known in his neighborhood in the Fordham Heights area, despite a long absence from 2004 to 2009, when he was jailed on Rikers Island while awaiting trial in a killing.

“I grew up here,” Mr. Ikoli once told The Daily News about his stay in jail.

“I lost my whole teenage and childhood for something I didn’t do,” he told the newspaper, which ran an article on the amount of time he spent behind bars waiting for his case to be tried. He was acquitted at trial and freed in 2009.

Mr. Ikoli’s lawyer, Martin B. Goldberg, said that after his release, he had spent some time in Washington or Maryland, but had returned to the Bronx, where he was living off money he had received from two lawsuits. He had been a member of a local Bloods gang, Mr. Goldberg said, adding that Mr. Ikoli had wanted to “get out of the neighborhood” for his own safety.

“He really forecasted his own death,” Mr. Goldberg said. “He kind of knew if he was in this, eventually that would happen.”

Mr. Goldberg said that to this day new clients occasionally ask him, “You were Michael’s lawyer, weren’t you?”

Mr. Ikoli’s killing remains unsolved, the authorities said.

On Thursday, a law enforcement official said there was no indication that Mr. Ikoli’s death had figured into the motive for killing Mr. Lewis.

“This doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Michael Ikoli,” said the law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was still in its initial stages. “There’s no indication that it’s connected.”

Mr. Lewis’s mother, Cynthia Shields, said on Thursday that she did not think her son even knew Mr. Patillo.

“He was the type of kid where if there was an argument, he’d be the peacemaker,” Ms. Shields said of her son, adding that he had not been in a gang. She was at a loss to explain any possible motive and said that detectives she had spoken to did not say why her son was killed.

A woman who said she was Mr. Ikoli’s younger sister but would not give her name also said that she did not believe the shooting of Mr. Lewis was directly connected to her brother’s death.

“It is not a revenge thing,” the woman said during an interview at the family’s apartment on Webster Avenue. “They are not linked.”

By Thursday morning, Mr. Ikoli’s memorial had grown to make room for Mr. Lewis’s. A friend of Mr. Lewis’s, Sammara Foster, 28, added a candle for him next to those placed for Mr. Ikoli.

Mr. Patillo, who was being held on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, had not been arraigned as of Thursday afternoon. The police said they had recovered the weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, near the shooting. Mr. Patillo had been arrested in the past, but details about those cases were not available because they had all been sealed, the authorities said.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 27, 2012, on page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: At a Bronx Vigil Nearly a Year After a Killing, a Man Is Shot Dead.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 11:21 am and is filed under Breaking News, Crime, New York Times, Print Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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