Father of Two Killed When Teen Opens Fire on City Bus, Police Say
BROOKLYN — An East Flatbush dad on his way to his second job at a bodega died when a 14-year-old boy aboard his bus in Bed-Stuy and shot him in the back of the head while aiming for a group of gang rivals Thursday, sources and family said.
Angel Rojas, 39, who also worked at a fruit market to support his wife and two kids, was talking on his phone aboard the B15 bus as it reached Lafayette Boulevard and Marcus Garvey Boulevard about 6:20 p.m., when the teen fired a single shot with a .357 Magnum at three of his rivals who had just boarded, sources and family said.
Kahthon Anderson, 14, a member of the Stack Money Goons gang, had been feuding with the other gang members, who belonged to the rival Twan gang, sources said.
After shooting Rojas, Anderson followed the Tuan gang members off the bus and chased them down the street, firing four more shots before police caught him, sources said.
Rojas was taken to Woodhull hospital and pronounced dead, police said.
"[He was] the best man in the world because his family always came first," said his wife, Maria Lopez, 42, through a translator inside their East Flatbush home Friday.
Investigators said they believe the shooting was sparked by gang-related taunting on social media, a common gang practice, sources said. The volatile ribbing continued even after the deadly shooting, sources said.
According to surveillance footage on the bus, an Anderson boarded the bus at the Myrtle Avenue stop armed with a Smith and Wesson revolver and was still on the bus when the three Twan members boarded, sources said.
Surveillance footage showed that one of the rival gang members recognized Anderson and stepped toward him, prompting Anderson to draw his gun and fire from a distance of about 5 feet, sources said.
Anderson's bullet struck Rojas, sparking pandemonium, as his intended targets ducked out the back of the bus. Anderson gave chase and was arrested on charges of murder, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal use of a firearm, the NYPD said. He is expected to be tried as an adult, a source said.
Friday's arrest was the latest in Anderson's rap sheet, as he was also arrested in 2011 for assault, a police spokesman said.
Rojas' family was devastated by the senseless attack.
"I want [Anderson] to be punished even though he's not an adult, so he can reflect and stop killing innocent people," said Rojas' wife, who was married to him for 14 years and came to New York from the Dominican Republic with him in 2009.
Rojas had just worked a 12 hour shift at the fruit market, was hoping to stop in at home before continuing on to his 3 hour shift at the bodega when he was killed, family said.
Rojas' daughter, 8, and son, 12, remembered him as an adoring father who'd take them on trips during the little free time he had between working his two jobs.
"He took us to Coney Island," said his son, Saury, who was being treated at a hospital for a broken finger when he learned of his father's death. "We would go on rides every summer."
A small photo of Rojas was placed at the base of a religious candle for a small memorial in the family's kitchen Friday morning.
With reporting by Paul DeBenedetto.