Daily News, June 19, 2011, "Covered in Blood"





BY ERIK BADIA, MICHAEL DAILY, MATTHEW LYSIAK and LARRYMcSHANE

A gang-related gunfight at a “Freaky Friday” house party killed the father of a 2-year-old boy and wounded six others on a Brooklyn street left covered in bodies and blood.

“It was a massacre,” said eyewitness Dennis Fitzgerald, who watched as a minor collision between two revelers ignited the bloodbath early yesterday.

“It was like a zombie movie. People just staggering all bloody.” Terrified partygoers scrambled for their lives out the front and back doors of the two family house in East New York, where the overflow crowd filled the first floor and spilled into the yard.

The fusillade continued for 10 terrifying minutes, both inside and outside the house, with one drunken gunman randomly pumping bullets into fleeing guests without uttering a word.


Donzell Rogers, 21, was mortally wounded by a bullet that tore into his left side, cops said. He stopped by the party at a friend’s urging after grabbing a late-night slice of pizza, his girlfriend said.

“He was just an innocent bystander,” said the girlfriend,who was doing laundry with the victims just before the slaying. “It was someone else’s fight. He had nothing to do with it, but got killed.”

Rogers, who planned a Father’s Day visit with his young son, was instead pronounced dead at Brookdale University Hospital.

“He was breathing like a fish out of water,” Fitzgerald said. “Blood was coming out of his mouth. I knew he wouldn’t make it.”

Marcus Pilgrim, a pal from John Dewey High School, said Rogers was “the pretty boy of the crew.”

Three men spotted fleeing the scene were taken into custody, and police said charges are pending. A huge pool of blood stained the sidewalk outside the Wyona St. home that hosted the all-night party with $1 shots of vodka, thumping reggae music and a $3 cover charge.

A local street crew known as the Very Crispy Gangsters was involved in the fatal shooting, said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

At least 20 bullets were fired before the shooting suddenly stoppedaround 3:25 a.m. “Bang, bang, bang, bang — just shooting and shooting,” recounted Fitzgerald, 28, who woundup with one victim’s blood on his shirt.

“He was just airing it out, shooting in every direction,” Fitzgerald said. “He wasn’t aiming. He was just shooting. He didn’t even know who he was shooting.”

The violence began once the party became so packed it was nearly impossible to move. One man coming up the crowded back steps bumped into a man heading down, and words were exchanged.

A third man trying to defuse the dispute was sucker-punched, landing on top of Fitzgerald. The man regained his balance, pulled a weapon from his waistband and opened fire, Fitzgerald said.

The party quickly gave way to panic once the shooting began. One person was injured while desperately scaling a backyard fence, and another was hospitalized with chest pains.

“You could hear the anguish in people’s voices with the yelling,” said Stacy Spellman, who lives one block away. The 47-year-old man said he heard three separate bursts of gunfire, and then a woman's screams.

“Yo, man, get up, get up, get up!” she shouted, apparently to one gunshot victim. Police later recovered two handguns: a 9-mm. found in the bushes around the corner from the shooting and a .40-caliber semiautomatic tossed under a nearby car.

Three men, ages 20, 21 and 28, were taken into custody, police sources said. Kelly said they were likely to face gun possession charges at the least.

The wounded victims, all but one between the ages of 17 and 20, were taken to various hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds.


With Al Barbarino, Izabela Rutkowski, Alex Christodoulides and Bob Kappstatter