Murdered Photographer Called 'Snitch' in YouTube Threat, Sources Say
QUEENS — The execution-style murder of a photographer whose body was found in a trash bag in the Rockaways may have been revenge for “snitching” on three men who robbed him several years ago, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Law enforcement sources say Quynton Ross, 33, the father of a 4-year-old daughter, was the target of an ominous YouTube video that denounced him as a “snitch” and graphically depicted the street justice he should face for putting a trio of home invaders in state prison.
One of the three convicts, whose name is being withheld by DNAinfo New York, was released from prison last Friday — two days before Ross vanished Sunday morning.
Investigators want to talk to the ex-con to see if he knows anything that can help them solve the murder case.
Ross’ body — with a single fatal shot to the chest — was found stuffed inside a trash bag on Monday morning at 9:50 a.m. after his family tracked his cell phone to Beach 40th Street near the Boardwalk. His bloody clothing was found nearby in a separate garbage bag.
According to court records, Ross and another man were robbed by three masked gunmen at his home in March 2011. They stole an undisclosed amount of cash, a watch, diamonds, earrings and an iPod.
Several months later, the suspects where charged with that robbery and a string of other heists during a four-month spree in Queens. A .45 Ruger revolver was also recovered.
Their indictment shows the men were part of a violent gang responsible for numerous robberies and burglaries that ended with police and prosecutors using wiretaps to capture them.
Ross and the other victim cooperated with the police and the trio cut deals that sent them to prison.
In March 2012, a video was posted on YouTube by someone using the pseudonym Rat Hunter.
The video begins with a knock on the door of what is described as Ross' home.
With rap music thumping in the background, the video presents a poster-like photo of Ross, with the words “Big Time Snitch” on it along with a Free Dictionary explanation that a “deponent is someone who gives evidence or acts as a witness.”
The video then shows someone flipping through pages of the 2011 indictment against the three suspects, accompanied by the muffled voice of an ominous narrator who says Ross “used to be their homeboy.”
There is also footage of armed gunmen slamming a man in the face with weapons while robbing a roomful of others with guns against their heads. It fades to black leaving the impression that one victim was about to be executed.
The five-minute video ends with a black-and-white message suddenly appearing on the screen, declaring that “this is something" that will happen to Ross. "And now this is funny.”
The other victim of the 2011 robbery was also featured prominently in the video. It was not immediately clear if the NYPD was providing protection for him.
Records show the man who was recently released from prison was originally sentenced to serve two years in connection with the 2011 robbery. He was initially released on March 28, 2013 with a few months off for good behavior, but was returned to jail on May 30, 2013 for an undisclosed violation of his conditional release.
He was freed again two months later, but returned to jail on Feb. 6, 2014 — again, for reasons that were not immediately available.
He spent another six weeks in jail before being freed last Friday.