Two Men Indicted for Middle Village Summer Shooting

The shooting took place outside 79-28 Metropolitan Ave. Credit: Celia Bernhardt

Two men were indicted for the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Joshua Taylor in Middle Village last summer, facing charges of murder and attempted murder.

Shamel Capers, a 24-year-old from Herzl Street in Brooklyn, faces charges of attempted murder in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, and four counts of criminal posession of a weapon in the second degree. Capers was arraigned on May 21 and could face up to 25 years in prison.

25-year-old Dante Hunter from Mott Haven Avenue in Far Rockaway, Queens, faces charges of  murder in the second degree, attempted murder in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, and four counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Hunter was arraigned on May 20 and faces 25 years to life in prison.

The July 23, 2023 shooting happened at approximately 3:17 a.m. near 79-28 Metropolitan Avenue. The situation started when one of Taylor’s friends threw a drink in the general direction of Caper and Capers’ friend, who were exiting a nearby convenience store. A verbal dispute followed, where Hunter joined Capers. 

After several minutes, that argument escalated into a four-way shootout. Hunter drew his firearm first. 

Taylor was hit by a single round in his chest from the crossfire; he was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

More than two dozen 9mm shell casings were found at the scene. After an investigation. Capers was identified using surveillance footage from nearby locations and financial records for a credit and debit card he used immediately before the shooting. Hunter, meanwhile, was already in custody on a parole warrant at the time of the incident.

Capers served eight years in prison in connection with the 2013 killing of a 14-year-old named D’aja Robinson. He was one of two men convicted for the shooting, but was exonerated in 2022 after prosecuters said that evidence proved the other man was the sole shooter.  

A surveillance video allegedly shows Capers firing a gun, but his attorney denied this in court last week. 

Another individual — 21-year-old Damone Miller from Brooklyn — has also been charged in connection with Taylor’s death. 

The shooting was a shock for Middle Village, a usually quiet and safe area. The Queens Ledger reported at the time that a nearby resident’s car was hit by stray bullets, shattering its side window. 

“Gun violence has caused immense tragedy in our neighborhoods, steering too many of our young people toward choices that negatively impact the rest of their lives,” District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “Following a painstaking process of evidence gathering, we have secured an indictment on very serious charges against both defendants for the early morning shootout that left one person dead. We will continue to dedicate all resources at our disposal to combating the scourge of gun violence in this borough.”

Judge Michael Aloise ordered defendants Hunter and Capers to return to court on June 18. 

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