A teenager has been nabbed in West Virginia for a Lower East Side shooting death connected to the shocking execution of a young nail salon owner and her innocent friend found burnt beyond recognition in a burning car in the Bronx, police said Wednesday.
Zymir Humphrey, 18, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Martinsburg, W. Va., in July and extradited to New York Tuesday. Humphrey was charged with murder and weapons possession in the shooting of Brandon Atkinson on E. 3rd St. the night of May 15. The NYPD gives Atkinson’s age as 39 but he was actually 20, the Daily News confirmed after talking with his family and friends.
The teen was ordered held without bail during a short arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday. A murder indictment and a warrant for his arrest was filed on June 10 after investigators presented evidence that showed he was responsible for Atkinson’s death, according to court papers.
This was Humphrey’s first arrest in New York, a police source said.
Atkinson’s shooting was just the start of an hours-long spate of bloodshed that ended the following morning when the charred bodies of Nikki Huang, 23, and Jesse Parrilla, 22, were found in a torched car just outside the Pelham Split Rock Golf Course in the Bronx. Each had been shot in the head.
The double murder, detectives later learned, capped a series of retaliatory acts of violence after Huang, a nail salon owner, was pistol-whipped and robbed of her pricey Louis Vuitton purse near her home and salon on the Lower East Side — then reached out to friends in the local Up the Hill gang.
Members of that gang sought revenge on Huang’s attackers, who ran with the rival Down the Hill Gang.
Retribution was swift, starting with Atkinson, police sources said.
Atkinson was not involved in the Huang robbery but has a brother who is an elder statesman in the Down the Hill gang, sources said.
An hour after he was killed, a gunman shot and wounded a 22-year-old man in the wrist and a 19-year-old bystander in the leg in a park behind the Rutgers Houses near Madison St.
At some point that night Huang and Parrilla were kidnapped by furious Down the Hill members and forced to lure a 27-year-old gang rival from his home in Ridgewood, Queens, at 2:20 a.m. the next day.
A waiting gunman shot that victim in the left side of his face and arm before fleeing.
The target escaped with his life and is recovering. Roughly two hours later, Huang and Parrilla were found dead in the burned car.
Cops believe Parrilla, a talented basketball player, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught up in the violence because he was friends with Huang.
The NYPD late last month identified two men wanted for questioning about the murders of Huang and Parrilla. Jahmel Sanders, 30, and Steven Santiago, 34, are still being sought.
Humphrey’s arrest is the first in connection to any of the bloodshed. He lives in the Rutgers Houses on the Lower East Side but had recently been staying in Martinsburg, according to cops.
On July 19, members of the U.S. Marshals Mountain State Fugitive Task Force learned that Humphrey was laying low near Shasta Lane in Martinsburg, W. Va.
After canvassing the area, Marshals spotted Humphrey leaving the area in a black Jeep. The Jeep was pulled over on Golf Course Road and Humphrey was arrested without incident, Acting U.S. Marshal Terry Moore said.