A 45-year-old man was indicted for murder earlier this month in connection with a fatal September 30 shooting near the Barclays Center.
According to the investigation, at around 8 p.m. that evening, the defendant, Matthew Passaro, was walking on Atlantic Avenue when he encountered the victim, 47-year-old Stephen Vargas, a stranger, and began yelling at him.
After an exchange of words, Passaro is said to have gone around the corner, changed his clothes, gone back to where the victim was standing outside of 578 Atlantic Avenue, and shot him multiple times, killing him.
According to authorities, the defendant fled but was arrested on November 1 inside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, at which time he was found to be in possession of a loaded .45-caliber pistol. A microscopic analysis of the recovered gun and ballistic evidence from the scene of the shooting determined the pistol to be the same gun used to kill Vargas.
“This defendant allegedly executed a completely innocent stranger in the middle of a busy street for no reason at all,” said Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “I now intend to hold him accountable for this wanton and senseless killing.”
Passaro has been ordered held without bail. He will return to court on February 23, 2018, at which time he faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.