Bed-Stuy Fatal Fire May Have Been Coverup of Credit Card Scam, Police Say

By Paul DeBenedetto on April 9, 2014 10:44am 

 A photo of the Stuyvesant Gardens Houses in 2012. Police say a fire and shooting at Stuyvesant Gardens on March 30, 2014 may have been triggered by a credit card scam.
A photo of the Stuyvesant Gardens Houses in 2012. Police say a fire and shooting at Stuyvesant Gardens on March 30, 2014 may have been triggered by a credit card scam.
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DNAinfo/Elizabeth Hagen

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A credit card scam may have triggered an attack that led to the bludgeoning death and fire inside a Stuyvesant Gardens Houses apartment in March, officials said.

Qasim Mitchell, 24, was found inside his burnt-out first-floor apartment at 885 Gates Ave. at 4:40 p.m. March 30, police said. He was rushed to Woodhull Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

His death was initially blamed on a gunshot wound but later changed to be the result of bludgeoning, police said.

Following the fire, police found blank credit cards and a machine to forge the cards inside Mitchell's apartment, officials from the 81st Precinct confirmed at Tuesday's  community council meeting.

"We believe the fire was set to hide what happened," 81st Precinct commanding officer Deputy Inspector Scott Henderson said.

Police found an associate of Mitchell's, Rayshawn Smith, in the courtyard behind Mitchell's apartment with gunshot wounds to the shoulder and torso, police sources said.

Smith was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he was originally listed in stable condition. His condition has since worsened as doctors deal with internal bleeding, sources said.

"We believe the perpetrators and the victims did know each other in some capacity," Henderson said.

Other notable crimes in the 81st Precinct:

►Four men shot and robbed a victim outside the Brevoort Houses Monday night, police said.

Devon Fraser, 32, was walking into 320 Bainbridge St. around 9:30 p.m. on Monday when he spotted four men with weapons, police said.

The men chased him, threw him to the ground and robbed him before shooting him twice in the legs, police said.

Fraser was taken to Kings County Hospital and is in stable condition, police said.

►A man robbed a Bed-Stuy bodega last month after entering through a hole in the shop's ceiling, police said.

The man cut a hole into the ceiling of Malcolm X Blvd. Deli, at 92 Malcolm X Blvd., shortly after midnight on March 23, entered the store and stole scratch-off lottery tickets, cigarettes, $2,500 from the cash register and $5,980 from an ATM, according to the NYPD.

Alleged Malcom X Boulevard Burglar
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NYPD

He then made his way to several stores where he cashed in winning scratch-off tickets, police said.

The NYPD released surveillance video of the suspect from inside New Garden Farm at 452 Seneca Ave. in Ridgewood, in which he's seen wearing a tan jacket, a black skull cap, black gloves, tan pants, work boots and a shirt with a skull on it.

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