MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT—A 20-year-old man accused of gunning down a recent college grad in East Harlem was indicted Tuesday on murder and weapons possession charges, despite claiming he was the one under attack.
Authorities said Khalid Rahman fatally shot Matt Shaw, who graduated from Le Moyne College in May, as the 21-year-old hung out with friends around midnight on July 4 outside of East Harlem's AK Houses.
Rahman, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, crossed at 128th Street and Lexington Avenue towards Shaw and his friends and allegedly began to fire his gun, hitting a car at first, prosecutors said.
The victim took off running down Lexington Avenue, but was struck in the torso by a bullet. A crowd of people then gave chase, but he continued to fire at them, prosecutors said.
Shaw was later rushed to Harlem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead during the early the next morning.
"What kind of a monster could take out a gun and shoot somebody," said Paula Shaw-Leary, the victim's mother, after Rahman appeared in court. "I hope he gets exactly what's coming to him."
Sources say Shaw, who was about to start a graduate program in economics at SUNY's University at Albany in the fall, did not appear to be the target of the shooting.
Rahman, however, told authorities that he was the one being chased and shot at that evening, though he didn't immediately know why, according to court documents.
The suspect said he went out that night to buy marijuana at the AK Houses, but heard gunshots, began to panic and and took off running.
Rahman was soon being chased and shot at by a group of young men, he said. But eventually they stopped shooting and he managed to run to safety—to party in the neighborhood, though his nephew told him "the kids from AK" were looking for him.
Rahman said he wasn't told until the next day by a friend that someone was shot on 128th street. "I figured out that the crowd was chasing me because of the kid that got shot," he allegedly told police.
Shaw, the youngest of seven children, grew up in the East Harlem neighborhood, but his mother said he and his siblings had stayed clear of the rampant gun violence in the community.
Cheyenne Baez, another innocent bystander, was gunned down in the area in October 2010 by Boris Brown, who fired into a crowd in the court yard of the AK Houses.
But Shaw-Leary said she was always worried about having her kids home for summer.
"I knew two months were just too long," said Shaw-Leary. "When you live in my neighborhood, you're not safe."
Rahman is being held without bail.