Prior Violent Felon Sentenced To 25 Years To Life For Gun Possession Related To Shooting At Crowd In Riverhead

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Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced that Messiah Booker, also known as Matthew Booker, 38, of Riverhead, was found guilty after a jury trial for a May 2022 shooting that occurred while Booker had been on parole release from prison for a separate felony.
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced that Messiah Booker, also known as Matthew Booker, 38, of Riverhead, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being found guilty of his involvement in a shooting that took place in May 2022. The incident occurred while Booker was on parole release from prison for a separate felony.

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced that Messiah Booker, also known as Matthew Booker, 38, of Riverhead, was found guilty after a jury trial for a May 2022 shooting that occurred while Booker had been on parole release from prison for a separate felony

Messiah Booker, also known as Matthew Booker, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being found guilty of his involvement in a shooting that took place in May 2022. The incident occurred while Booker was on parole release from prison for a separate felony.

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney expressed the importance of holding perpetrators of violence accountable. He emphasized that violence will not be tolerated in Suffolk County, particularly in broad daylight and in the presence of innocent bystanders.

“With this sentence, we want the public to know that we are holding perpetrators of violence accountable,” said District Attorney Tierney. “This happened in broad daylight in the parking lot of an apartment complex full of people. Violence will not be tolerated in Suffolk County.”

During the trial, evidence revealed that on May 20, 2022, Booker engaged in a verbal dispute with a teenager in the parking lot area of an apartment complex in downtown Riverhead. As the argument escalated, Booker threatened the juvenile with a gun. He briefly left the scene but returned with a loaded firearm in a fanny pack. Booker then attempted to draw the gun from the fanny pack, causing the victim to flee.

Shortly after, the victim’s family arrived at the apartment complex, and Booker proceeded to argue with them. A large crowd gathered during the altercation. Booker went back to his vehicle, retrieved the same loaded firearm, and fired a shot towards someone in the crowd. Unfortunately, the bullet ricocheted off the ground and struck another individual in the forearm. Booker then fled on foot.

Riverhead Town Police Department officers responded to the scene and discovered a 9 mm shell casing from the shooting. Booker’s Jeep Compass, which was left at the scene, was impounded. A subsequent search led to the discovery of drugs, including cocaine and morphine, over $1,000 in small denomination bills, four cellular phones, walkie-talkies, a tactical vest, 9 mm ammunition, a digital scale commonly used to weigh narcotics, and drug packaging material.

With assistance from the United States Marshals Service, law enforcement successfully tracked Booker and apprehended him several days later. On February 27, 2024, Booker was convicted on multiple charges, including criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of controlled substances. These charges were brought forth in light of Booker’s prior felony convictions, two of which were violent felonies. Specifically, Booker had previously been convicted in 2017 for attempted burglary in the second degree, a violent felony.

On the same date, Justice Anthony S. Senft, Jr. sentenced Booker to 25 years to life in prison. The defense counsel was represented by Ian Fitzgerald, Esq. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys William Richards and Raymond Coscia from the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, with Detective Richard Freeborn of the Riverhead Town Police Department leading the investigation.

This sentencing serves as a reminder that Suffolk County is committed to ensuring the safety of its residents by holding those who perpetrate violence accountable for their actions.

Important: This story is categorized as a crime story and thus it is important to note that charges are accusations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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