Accused Brooklyn Livery Cab Shooter Denied Bail

By Aidan GardinerChelsia Rose Marcius and Paul DeBenedetto  on August 20, 2012 1:44pm

BROOKLYN — A man accused of shooting a 23-year-old livery cab passenger in the head over the weekend in a botched robbery was hauled before a judge Monday, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.

Michael Magnan, 19, faces a slew of charges for allegedly shooting Forest Hills resident Nikita Grebelsky Saturday morning in Flatlands, including attempted murder, assault, attempted robbery and weapons possession.

Magnan, who has eight prior arrests, including jumping bail and possession of stolen property, was denied bail.

According to police, Grebelsky was sitting in the back seat of the cab with a woman identified in reports as his sister, Elizabeth Filatova, 25, when the suspect approached the vehicle and attempted to rob the driver at Utica Avenue and Avenue M in Flatlands.

The driver refused to give up his cash and began to drive away, according to the criminal complaint.

Magnan then allegedly pulled out a .30-caliber handgun and fired off what the cab driver described as "a number of shots," hitting Grebelsky in the head, the complaint says.

Grebelsky was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where he was in critical condition, Assistant District Attorney Beth Hurley said during the arraignment. Hurley also said that new charges would be added in the event of Grebelsky's death.

Distraught members of Grebelsky's family declined to comment as they left the hospital Monday evening when visiting hours ended.

On Sunday, Magnan's family told reporters that the young man was at a wedding earlier that evening and couldn't have committed the crimes.

“This guy was drunk,” his father, Frantz Magnan, told the Daily News. “How could he do something like that?”

“He’s a beautiful person,” Magnan's aunt Lisa Alexis added, according to the paper. “He’s not a maniac. He’s not a psycho.”

Commissioner Ray Kelly on Monday denied reports that Magnan was connected to a nearby incident that night in which four people were shot.

"There were two different types of ammunition found at the shootings," Kelly said. "They don't match up with the individual's weapon."

Magnan is scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday.

Joe Parziale contributed reporting to this story.

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