A suspect has been caught for the May Upper West Side shooting of a father on a visit from Virginia killed sitting behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz, police said Tuesday.
Donta King, 24, was arrested Monday for murder, reckless endangerment and criminal use of a firearm for allegedly shooting 27-year-old Ronald Thomas.
Thomas, visiting from Glen Allen, Va., got into an intense quarrel with a woman on W. 102 St. near Amsterdam Ave. about 12:15 p.m. May 1, witnesses said.
“I saw an argument,” neighbor Manny El Grande said at the time. “I just said maybe that’s like a relationship, things going on… It wasn’t my problem so I kept walking.”
The argument escalated when a gunman pulled up to the cul-de-sac outside the Frederick Douglass Houses about 12:15 p.m., cops and witnesses said.
The shooter pulled out a gun and fired off shots, striking Thomas in the head, police said.
He then took off — leaving the mortally wounded victim inside the white Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 he was sitting in.
A warrant for King’s arrest was issued on August 5, sparking a manhunt for him, court records show.
A short time later, Thomas’ brother, upon hearing the news in Virginia, suffered a heart attack, friends of the family said.
A neighbor who heard the gunfire peeked out her window and spotted his lifeless body, his white sneakers dangling out the driver’s side of the car.
“I don’t even come outside here anymore,” alarmed resident Maria Beltran said after the shooting. “I just want to get the hell out of here. I’m going to the store right now and then I’m gonna go straight home.”
Thomas, who is originally from the Bronx, was up north for a visit, his stunned cousin told the Daily News.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Dwayne Martin. “This is nuts because it’s unexpected. I don’t know who he came to see. He’s not that type of guy.”
Martin said the family had recently been touched by violence with another cousin shot and wounded not far from the murder scene.