RIVERHEAD, NY – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced today that Matthew Booker, also known as Messiah Booker, a 38-year-old resident of Riverhead, has been found guilty after a jury trial for a shooting incident that occurred in May 2022 while he was on parole release from prison for a separate felony.
During the trial, District Attorney Tierney expressed his satisfaction with the verdict.
“This defendant, a convicted felon on parole, pulled a loaded gun on a teenager, endangering his life, and then later fired that same gun outside of a crowded apartment complex, striking another person in the arm.”
He further commended the prosecutors and law enforcement partners for their efforts in holding perpetrators of violence accountable in Suffolk County.
According to the evidence presented in court, the incident took place on May 20, 2022, at approximately 3:50 p.m. in the parking lot area of an apartment complex in downtown Riverhead. Booker engaged in a verbal dispute with a teenager, which quickly escalated. During the argument, Booker threatened to shoot the juvenile and briefly retreated to his black Jeep Compass. He returned with a loaded gun concealed in a fanny pack, causing the teenager to flee for his safety.
Shortly after, the victim’s family arrived, and Booker engaged in another argument with them. As the altercation unfolded, a large crowd gathered in front of the building. Booker retrieved the same loaded firearm from his Jeep and fired at one of the individuals in the crowd. The bullet ricocheted off the ground and struck another victim in the forearm. Booker fled the scene on foot.
Upon responding to the scene, officers from the Riverhead Town Police Department discovered a 9mm shell casing. Booker’s Jeep Compass, which remained at the location, was impounded, and a search warrant was obtained to search its contents. The search yielded significant findings, including drugs such as cocaine and morphine, over $1,000 in small denomination bills, four cellular phones, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof tactical vest, 9mm ammunition, digital scales commonly used for weighing narcotics, and drug packaging materials like glassine envelopes.
Assisted by the United States Marshals Service, law enforcement tracked Booker’s movements, leading to his apprehension several days later. He was subsequently placed under arrest.
It was revealed during the trial that Booker had previously been convicted of Criminal Possession of a Loaded Firearm in the Third Degree, a Class D felony, in 2006. He was sentenced to three years in prison. In 2017, he was convicted of Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree, another Class D felony, and received a five-year prison sentence. At the time of the shooting, Booker was on parole for the Attempted Burglary conviction.
On January 26, 2024, Booker was found guilty on multiple charges, including two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (Class C violent felonies), two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree with the Intent to Sell (Class D felonies), two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree (Class A misdemeanors), one count of Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree (Class A misdemeanor), and one count of Menacing in the Second Degree (Class B misdemeanor).
Following the verdict, Booker was remanded into custody. He is scheduled for sentencing on February 27, 2024, and could face a minimum of 16 years to a maximum of life in prison. Ian Fitzgerald, Esq., is representing him.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys William Richards and Raymond Coscia of the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau. Detective Richard Freeborn of the Riverhead Town Police Department provided investigative assistance throughout the proceedings.