A Sunnyside man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of an off duty paramedic during an argument in a bar.
Anthony O’Connor, 45, pleaded guilty last Thursday to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Judge Robert Hanophy, who indicated that he would sentence O’Connor to 17 1/2 years in prison on May 11.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, O’Connor admitted that he fired a .38 caliber revolver at Erik Gonzalez, 30, striking him once in the torso, fatally wounding him.
The incident occurred during a fight inside the Easy Street Bar, at 36 18 Greenpoint Ave. in Sunnyside, during the early morning hours of Feb. 22, 2004. Gonzalez was employed as a paramedic for MetroCare Ambulance in Mount Vernon and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan.
“Instead of trying to settle their dispute peacefully, the defendant chose to end his argument with the victim by resorting to gun violence,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “He will now be held accountable for the intentional shooting of the victim, a paramedic who had earned his livelihood saving lives. The crime is an alarming example of gun related violence that takes innocent lives and endangers public safety.”
The investigation was conducted by Detective Raymond Sumsky of the NYPD’s 108th Precinct Detective Squad under the supervision of Lt. William Smith and the Queens Homicide Squad under the supervision of Lt. Richard Bellucci. —Dan Hendrick