A 25-year-old Bushwick man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for opening fire on the family of a young woman with whom he had an ongoing dispute, announced District Attorney Ken Thompson on Monday, May 23.
According to trial testimony, on July 20, 2013, Curtis Peterson and a group of young men approached the family – who were walking on Menahan Street – and opened fire, striking Ronaldo Pizarro, 45, in the stomach; Pizarro’s wife, Melody, Amill, 37, in the knee; Pizarro’s son, Ronaldo Jr., 22, in the leg; Pizarro’s aunt, Wanda Espinoza, 45, in the stomach; and relative Manuel Rivera, 62, in the ankle.
Peterson had an ongoing dispute with Pizarro’s 18-year-old daughter, whom – just days before the shooting – he had harassed by throwing a milkshake at her while she was working a shift at McDonalds. The girl, at the behest of her parents, reported the harassment to the police, according to testimony, leading Peterson to seek retaliation.
The defendant – who was free on $100,000 bail – fled authorities, and was absent from his sentencing.
“This defendant brazenly shot and injured five people, all of whom are lucky to be alive,” said Thompson. “When it became clear, near the end of trial, that the evidence against him was overwhelming, he absconded. Let’s be clear, however, that he will be found and will serve many years in prison.”
Peterson was convicted last month on three counts of first-degree assault, one count of attempted assault, one count of assault, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree harassment.